Originally Published on OMIWORLD.ORG
Fr. Boniface WITTENBRINK has turned 100 on 30 June 2014 in Belleville, Illinois. Among his many achievements, in 1973, he founded WMRY Radio Information Service, a broadcast service for the blind and print-impaired. The service is located at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.
When he was asked to start the service, he said, “I don’t know anything about radios except how to turn one on, and I sure don’t know anything about blind people except they can’t see.” Then, in typical Fr. Boni fashion, he said, “But if you think I can help, I’ll do it.” So, without prior experience in management or broadcasting, he learned — both about radio technology and the visually impaired who would benefit from his ministry. The radio station he created, now namedMinds Eye Information Service, has benefited thousands of blind and print disabled people throughout the greater St. Louis-Belleville metropolitan area.
Over the years, he has received many awards for his work in raising public awareness about various diseases of the eyes and the needs of blind and sight-impaired persons. Before he began his radio ministry, he taught in Oblate juniorates and in retreat houses. He himself is now nearly blind, having only a little vision in one eye.
Below are some short audio birthday greetings to Fr. Wittenbrink from Oblates across the country.
(Some have been edited due to system time constraints)