In 1846 Boniface Wimmer, O.S.B., (1809-1887), set sail from Germany with a vision of transplanting the Benedictine Order to America. Armed with nothing more than an unwavering vision and 18 brave companions, Wimmer founded Saint Vincent Archabbey, College, and Seminary, set amidst the rolling hills of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, firmly rooting Benedictine Monasticism as part of the American-Catholic tradition.
Following Wimmer’s death in 1887, the monks of Saint Vincent and its daughterhouses set out to gather all of his letters and correspondences—a task that undoubtedly included collecting portrait photographs of Wimmer. Portrait photography of the mid-19th century possesses an intrinsic artistry; a 30-plus-second exposure demanded thoughtful and compelling compositions with a painterly aesthetic, accomplished with soft, natural light and mirrors.
Boniface: The Complete Portraits of Boniface Wimmer, O.S.B., presents 21 portrait photographs accompanied by heartening quotes from Wimmer’s letters, and excerpts from the Pittsburg Dispatch, tracing Wimmer’s life as an early American missionary priest, to his death as Archabbot of Saint Vincent, revealing an intimate look into the founder of Benedictine Monasticism in North America. Compiled by Jordan Hainsey.