Settling In

Published by Saint Vincent Archabbey Public Relations on

Father Boniface painted the following picture about their activities for the Augsburger Sion. The letter is dated February 1, 1847:23

“You have probably received my first letter in which I announced my fortunate arrival at St. Vincent. Soon it will be four months that we have been living and working here, laboring, building, praying. While blacksmith and locksmith pound the anvil so that the sound rings out far and wide, 4 – 6 men cut down trees in the woods when the weather is favorable or split shingles under a safe roof, when it is storming and blustery outside. The hand of the saddler has already produced four new harnesses for the horses and two riding saddles, although he has a lot of work besides, repairing shoes and boots, which are gradually falling apart. The tailor has not yet finished all the habits and their accessories, because he is simultaneously also the binder or the cooper and besides must at times work with the hoe or the saw. Usually everyone works at his own trade, but at my order, everyone needs to help out anywhere where something needs done. This is necessary, but is always done willingly. One brother hauls coal, firewood, or timber or takes manure to the fields with four horses (I should have ten), while another brother looks after the cattle, the sheep and the pigs.

Two brothers are busy with preparations for the building of a saw mill, two are in the kitchen. The baker is quite busy trying to keep us in bread because it is our main staple, and the oven is very small. At the same time, he takes care of the laundry, but he does get a helper for that. My four seminarians are quite busy with intellectual activities; however, when the weather is good and circumstances require it, they also have to do physical work. Thus the cleaning of the church every Saturday is their responsibility. They also usually have to clean the house, take care of the sacristy, the sanctuary lamp, and whatever else falls to the task of the sacristan. My humble self directs all of it, but this is not difficult because all are willing to listen, stand together and support each other like brothers, enjoy working and do not like to be idle. However, as active as the hands are at work, everyone nevertheless immediately puts his tools down when the bell calls them to the church in order there to review the hours of the day that have passed, to improve what is necessary to improve, to reinforce what was good, or to offer Jesus Christ in the most Blessed Sacrament the adoration, honor and love that he so completely deserves!”

—From Boniface Wimmer, Abbot of Saint Vincent in Pennsylvania, translated by Dr. Maria Von Mickwitz and Father Warren Murrman, O.S.B., editor.