Saint of the Day – 25 April – Blessed Boniface of Valperga (Died 1243) Bishop, distinguished by his love for the poor and his great humility -his spiritual depth and holiness of life, made him very popular, even among the simplest people. Born in the latter 12th Century in Turin, Italy and died on 25 April 1243 in Aosta, Italy of natural causes.
Boniface was born into a noble family of the Canavese, the Counts of Valperga, which claimed descent from the King of Italy, Arduino d’Ivrea. Having received a first basic Christian education in the family, he was, therefore, sent to his paternal uncle Arduino, Bishop of Turin, who provided for his wider education, as well as the growth of Christian virtues.
Having reached a certain age, Bonifacio decided to undertake religious life, wearing the monastic Habit in the Benedictine Abbey of Fruttuaria, today’s San Benigno Canavese. He then moved to the Monastery-Collegiate Church of Sant’Orso of the Regular Canons of Aosta, shining here too for his doctrine and the sanctity of his life.
Soon, around 1210, he was made Prior. In this capacity he undertook a vigorous spiritual and temporal direction of the community, attracting popular admiration and esteem upon himself. This also meant that the faithful took the fate of the Convent more to heart, intervening more and more frequently, with substantial donations.
When Bishop Giacomo was transferred to Asti, on 17 July 1219, Boniface was elected Bishop of Aosta, an office which he retained until his death nearly 24 years later, on 25 April 1243.
The numerous donations in favour of the Bishop’s canteen testify to the good administration of Diocesan assets which he was able to implement and the trust he inspired in his faithful. He poured out all his strength as Shepherd of the flock entrusted to him for twenty-four years, always distinguishing himself by his humility, his love for the poor, for his concern and zeal in the care of souls.
Bonifacio died on 25 April 1243 and was buried at first in the Collegiate Church of Sant’Orso. His body was then transferred to the Cathedral Church of Aosta, to the Chapel of St Antonio.
Around 1302, a marble Statue of Boniface was erected and finally, there was a triple recognition of his mortal remains in 1551, in 1783 and in 1817. On this last occasion the Urn of Relics was placed in a niche between the main Altar and the right aisle of the Aosta Cathedral, where they are still exposed to public veneration today, alongside those of the Blessed Emeric of Quart.
On 28 April 1890 Pope Leo XIII Confirmed his Beatification which had taken place in 1885 by an Ecclesiastical Court in Aosta, Iwhich was specifically called to consider the matter.