As most of us know, according to AA lore, Bill Wilson was aided by a dead monk named Boniface when he wrote the 12&12. However, it is unclear exactly which Boniface Wilson was referring to. My guess is that he was referring to Saint Boniface, who is known as "The Intercessor of Addictions." Could this be the Boniface Wilson claimed help guide his hand as he wrote the literature that is now chanted worldwide in church basements?
Thou hast shown thyself, O God-inspired Boniface, as a guide to the orthodox faith, a teacher of true worship and purity, O star of the universe and companion of the bishops, O wise one. Through thy light thou hast enlightened all, O harp of the Spirit. Therefore, intercede with Christ to save our souls.
St. Boniface was born in Devonshire, England in 680. His baptismal name was Wilfrid. At age 5, he decided he wanted to be a monk, after meeting some. He was educated at the monastery near Exeter from ages 7 to 15. Then he went to Nursling Abbey at Winchester. He studied under Winbert, becoming a monk and a teacher in the school. He was ordained priest at age 30. In 716, he made his first missionary trip to northern Germany. He met with little success and returned home. The monks tried to persuade him to stay by electing him abbot upon the death of Winbert. Determined to be a missionary, he went to Pope Gregory II, in 718, and received a commission to evangelize Germany, along with a new name, Boniface. He preached in Hesse and assisted Willibrord in Friesland. In 722, he was recalled to Rome to be consecrated as regional Bishop for Germany. When he returned to Hesse, he decided to strike paganism at the root, literally. He announced the time he would cut down the sacred oak of Thor and destroy the pagan idols there. He cut down the oak, demonstrating that the pagan gods were powerless to defend themselves. Many came to the Faith and were baptized. In Thuringia, he found some Celtic and Frankish priests, but they were more hindrance than help to the work of converting the native population. Young monastics from England heard of his success and flocked to join the work. They learned the native dialects and preached in village, countryside and town. A monastery was established at Ohrdruf to serve as a missionary headquarters. In 731, St. Boniface was elevated to Metropolitan of Germany beyond the Rhine and given authority to establish sees throughout the region adn to organize the church. This he did. Upon the death of Charles Martel, he took the opportunity to repair the damage done to the church in France, weeding out unworthy priests and restoring order. In 747, he became Metropolitan of Mainz with authority over all of Germany and Gaul. In 754, (in his 70's) he resigned the see in Mainz to St. Lull, in order to return to Friesland to reconvert the area, which had lapsed into paganism after St. Willibrord's death. It was June of 755. He and Eoban were preparing to baptize and chrismate a group of new converts. He was reading in his tent awaiting the arrival of the converts when a band of pagans began to attack the camp. St. Boniface exhorted his companions not to defend him or themselves, but to welcome the opportunity to die for the Faith. He was the first to fall. His body was taken to Fulda along with the bloodstained book, where it is venerated to this day.
This icon is by the hand of Nicholas Papas. It is part of a mural of special intercessors at St. Michael Antiochian Orthodox Church, Greensburg, PA. St. Boniface intercedes for those dealing with alcohol and other addictions.