Bro. Boniface is from Emmett, Idaho and is a seminarian at St. Albert's Priory in Oakland, California. We pray for his continued success and fulfillment of his studies and eventual ordination to the priesthood in the Order of Preachers. He needs help from time-to-time with educational expenses, including books and necessities. If you can, send him a donation c/o Western Dominican Province, 5877 Birch Court, Oakland, CA 94618-1626.
Br. Boniface Willard, OP
I was born in Boise, Idaho, in 1977 and raised in a small town just north of there. Although my family spent a great deal of time enjoying the beauties of God found in the Idaho Rockies, we were regular in our religious observance. My sister and I attended religious education classes, and I served as an altar boy from the third grade until after college. It is, I think, through serving Mass and the example of several dedicated and holy priests that I first felt the stirrings of a desire to become a priest, but it was experienced as a sort of restlessness that quietly persisted through the years.
During high school, my faith was challenged, both by the departure of family and friends from the Church and by members of other religious denominations, particularly the Mormons, who are the dominant religious group in southern Idaho. Although I was able to answer their questions and objections to some degree, I was often left feeling dissatisfied with my own answers. After a time, I realized that I had to go somewhere and learn about my faith, or I had to become an atheist. These were the only two options because if the faith I was raised with was not true, then nothing else seemed to be any better. Not having the strength to be an atheist, I decided to study the teachings and history of the Church. It was, if you will, faith seeking understanding.
I attended Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia, and graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts in theology. Attending Christendom College was a tremendous experience. I found the academic life stimulating and challenging, but it was the experience of the college community – which I think is best described as a sort of lay religious community – that once more brought to life the desire to be a priest; now, though, I began to think about life as a priest in a religious order. However, I graduated with no clear idea of what it was that I sought.
After spending a year teaching high school in Richmond, I decided, on the advice of a friend, to study for my Master of Arts degree at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC. As he said, I could work toward a higher degree while at the same time learn something about the Dominicans, whom he felt I would like. And he was right.
I fell in love with the Order. The academic, prayer and community life of the friars resonated deeply in my soul, and a very strong desire to join them grew in me. I thought often about St. Matthew’s rich young man, and I finally decided to apply to the Western Dominican Province, and entered the Novitiate in August of 2003. I made my first profession in September of 2004, and I am currently working on my thesis for a Master of Arts degree in theology for DHS as well as studying for the Master of Divinity degree at the DSPT.
[This biography is from the provincial website at www.opwest.org].
To Praise * to Bless * to Preach