Faith & Life

SAINT PROFILE: COLUMBA

Circa 521 – 597; Feast – June 9

By CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE     5/31/2015

This abbot, one of Scotland’s patron saints, was born in Ireland. Also educated and ordained in Ireland, he spent 15 years preaching and founding monasteries, including Derry, Durrow and Kells. But his clashes with King Diarmaid over a psalter copy and the rights of sanctuary resulted in a clan feud and battle in which 3,000 men died. Columba, choosing exile as his penance, left for Scotland with 12 kinsmen about 561 to found the island monastery of Iona. He evangelized the Picts and converted their king. Iona monks went on mission all over Europe and its monastic rule was the standard until the Rule of St. Benedict. Columba, also called Colmcille (for Columba and cell), had enormous influence over Western monasticism.

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