Celtic-St. Columban of Luxeuil and Bobbio-21 November 2016

Celtic-St. Columban of Luxeuil and Bobbio


Photograph of the Saint Columbanus Window in the crypt at the Abbey of Bobbio

Born in West Leinster, Ireland, 530-543; died November 23, 615.

The life of Saint Columban teaches the benefits of trusting obedience to God and those who are placed in authority over us. Whenever events turned seemingly bad, they led Columban to a new adventure, to doing even greater work for the Kingdom of God. When God closes one door, He always opens another–even closer to His inner sanctum–if we obediently follow where He leads us.

There are few extant manuscripts about the life of Columban, but the Abbot Jonas wrote his biography about 30 years after the saint’s death. While the current view of Columbanus is one of a stern man who hurled anathemas and often flew into a rage (for example, felling a 50-year-old tree with a single blow), his biographer shows a gentle, devout, rigorous, yet soft-spoken man. If Columbanus blazed with the strength of God, he also shone with the love of Christ.

The good abbot Jonas tells us that Saint Columban was born of a noble Leinster family and received a classical education at Clonard, the great mother-school of Ireland, which Saint Finnian (f.d. December 12) had founded with a Gaelic blending of sanctity and scholarship.

Jonas reports that Columban was handsome of appearance with a fair complexion, and soon crossed swords with the devil in the form of “lascivae puellae,” wanton girls. Somewhere about this time the king of Cualann sent his daughter to Saint Finnian at Clonard to read her Psalter in Latin.[read more]

Second Life

St. Columban

Columban was a native of Leinster, and seems to have been of a respectable family. Of the precise date of his birth we are not informed. According to some accounts it was about 559, but according to others it was several years earlier. He received a good classical education, and resolved early to embrace an ascetic life. But the good looks and winning ways of the Irish girls were a snare to him. He tried to forget their bright eyes by toiling (desudavit) at grammar, rhetoric, and geometry, but found that at least syntax and the problems of Euclid were a less attractive study than pretty faces, and that the dry rules of rhetoric failed altogether before the winsome prattle of light- hearted maidens. He consulted an old woman who lived as a recluse. She warned him that if he wished to maintain his purpose of self-conquest he must fly to a region where girls are less beautiful and seductive than Ireland. “Save thyself, young man, and fly!” His resolution was formed; he decided on going away. [ read on]