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 Saint Columbanus

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Melisende
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PostSubject: Saint Columbanus   Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:33 pm

St. Columbanus
(c.543 - 615)

Born in Leinster, Columbanus left his home as a youth to study at Cleenish, Co.Fermanagh. He entered the monastery at Bangor, Co.Down (founded by St.Comgall).

It was here he first felt the calling to missionary work, and with twelve companions, Columbanus set sail for Europe (c.589). It was presumed that he landed near St.Malo, France as he was actively preaching in that area.

Columbanus was summonded to the court of the Frankish King of Burgundy, and was granted permission to settle in the mountainous wilderness of the Vosges. Columbanus built a monastery at Anegray and a second monastery at nearby Luxeuil, which became renown for scholarship. A third monastery was built at Fontaine.

Columbanus drew up the "Regula monachorum" which was a strict code emphasising obediance, poverty and mortification as the requirements of monastic life. However, Columbanus encountred differences between the Celtic and Roman Churches and came into conflict with local priests. His outspokeness lost him favour at the Burgundian court, and he and his Irish monks were expelled (610). Columbanus ended up in Nantes.

As Columbanus prepared to return to Ireland, storms persuaded both him and his enemies that it was God's intention that he remain. Columbanus arrived at Metz and was invited by King Theudebert to preach to the pagan tribes of Central Europe. Columbanus settled at Bregenz on the shores of Lake Constance.

In the meantime, King Theudebert was defeated by King Theuderic II in battle (612) and Columbanus was thus forced to move on into Lombardy. He was offered land at Bobbio by King Agiluf and built a new monastery.

Columbanus died at Bobbio (23/11/615) having sent a deathbed message of forgiveness to his last Irish companion, Gall, who refused to leave Lake Constance. St. Gall had already celebrated a mass for Columbanus, having learned of his death in a vision.

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