Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1, 80539 Munich, Germany
From 1827 till 1829, Boniface studied at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.
Universitätsstraße 31, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
In 1829, Wimmer studied Law at the University of Regensburg.
At the age of fourteen, Boniface entered the Latin school in Regensburg. Later, at seventeen, he enrolled in the seminary in the same city, where he studied for the priesthood.
In 1827, Boniface matriculated at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Two years later, he studied Law at the University of Regensburg. Then, after Wimmer won a competitive exam for a scholarship, he completed his theological studies at the Georgianum, a boarding-school for divinity students.
On August 1, 1831, Boniface was ordained a priest in Regensburg. On December 29, 1833, he made his solemn vows as a Benedictine at the monastery of Metten, taking the name of Boniface. For the next twelve years, Wimmer held various positions as pastor of Stephansposching, procurator of Scheyern and professor in Metten, Augsburg and Munich.
As early as 1843, Wimmer asked permission to go to the United States to minister to the emigrant Catholic Germans. Among other things, a conference in Munich with Peter Henry Lemke, pastor of Carrolltown, Pennsylvania, ripened his plan of founding a Benedictine monastery for that purpose, and, on July 25, 1846, he left Munich with four ecclesiastical students and fourteen young laymen. Landing in New York, on September 16, Wimmer went first to Carrolltown, where he had bought a farm before leaving home. When he found this ill-suited, he accepted the offer of Bishop Michael O'Connor of Pittsburgh to settle on the church-lands of St. Vincent in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.
On October 24, 1846, Boniface invested his eighteen companions with the religious habit, a ceremony, which marked the beginning of the Benedictine Order in the United States. During the following winter, the community suffered much in the scattered little buildings, but in 1847, new arrivals and fresh supplies from home increased the hope for success, and the Superior petitioned Rome to approve the foundation as a Benedictine monastery.
In 1848, Wimmer started a college and seminary, and a year later began to build a more spacious cloister. From that time to the end of his life, building operations rarely ceased in St. Vincent. Wimmer also took over the parish in St. Vincent and whenever possible made missionary tours through western Pennsylvania.
In a trip abroad in 1852, Wimmer succeeded in procuring the first Benedictine nuns from the convent of Eichstätt. Three years later, he applied to Rome to raise his foundation to the rank of an abbey. On August 24, 1855, Pope Pius IX granted his petition and appointed him the first abbot. At that time, the monastery had almost one hundred and fifty members.
In 1856, the new abbot sent men to Minnesota to found a priory (later known as St. John's Abbey and University), to Kansas in 1857, where they began St. Benedict Abbey and College in Atchison and to San José, Texas, where they established a foundation, given up during the Civil War. At about the same time, other houses were established in Carrolltown, Pennsylvania (1848), St. Marys, Pennsylvania (1851), Johnstown, Pennsylvania (1852), Covington, Kentucky (1858), Erie, Pennsylvania (1859), Chicago, Illinois (1861), Richmond, Virginia (1867) and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1868).
In 1870, as president of the American-Cassinese Congregation, which he had founded in 1855, Wimmer attended the Vatican Council in Rome. During the next ten years, he began a monastery in North Carolina (later known as Belmont Abbey and College), sent missionaries to Alabama, who paved the way for St. Bernard Abbey and College in Cullman, and founded an agricultural school for African-Americans on Skidaway Island, near Savannah, Georgia. This last, which was especially important to him, did not prosper.
In 1883, when Wimmer celebrated the golden jubilee of his profession, Pope Leo XIII conferred on him the title of Archabbot and the privilege of wearing the cappa magna for pontifical functions. At that time, his missionaries were in twenty-five states of the Union, ministering to over 100,000 souls, especially among Germans, Irish, Italians, Indians and African-Americans.
During the last period of his life, Wimmer also educated boys from Bohemia to become missionaries among their countrymen, and in 1885, founded a priory in Chicago. In 1886, Boniface sent Fathers, who established a priory, which became the Abbey of the Holy Cross in Cañon City, to Colorado.
On his deathbed, Boniface gave consent to a foundation in Ecuador, South America, which was later discontinued.
"Forward, always forward, everywhere forward! We must not be held back by debts, bad years or by difficulties of the times. Man's adversity is God's opportunity."
"We belong to the whole world."
"People plant trees though they are certain, that the fruit will benefit only the next generation."
Wimmer was a man of a very practical mind and marked determination.
Physical Characteristics: Boniface was a man of a middle stature and robust exterior.
Boniface's nephew, Sebastian Wimmer, was a well-known civil engineer, who lived in St. Marys, Pennsylvania.