Religion: The Black Monks

When Father Boniface Wimmer, with 18 other young Bavarians in his charge, arrived in New York City 100 years ago, he found no one to meet them, no one to interpret, no one to show them how to get to western Pennsylvania, where they planned to found a monastery. New York's German priests advised him to settle down in a U.S. parish. But stubborn Father Wimmer exploded in Süddeutsch: "Jetzt geschieht's erst recht!" ("I'll do it in spite of all this!")

His words might have been a motto for the abbey he founded. Over &...

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