related topics
{church, century, christian}
{son, year, death}
{god, call, give}
{law, state, case}
{area, community, home}
{island, water, area}
{day, year, event}
{food, make, wine}
{service, military, aircraft}
{area, part, region}
{town, population, incorporate}
{language, word, form}

Saint Columbanus (540 – 23 November 615; Irish: Columban, meaning the white dove.) was an Irish missionary notable for founding a number of monasteries on the European continent from around 590 in the Frankish and Lombard kingdoms, most notably Luxeuil (in present-day France) and Bobbio (Italy), and stands as an exemplar of Irish missionary activity in early medieval Europe.

He spread among the Franks a Celtic monastic rule and Celtic penitential practices for those repenting of sins, which emphasized private confession to a priest, followed by penances levied by the priest in reparation for the sin. He is also one of the earliest identifiable Hiberno-Latin writers.

St. Columbanus is the patron saint of motorcyclists and is the favored saint of the Columban Fathers, a missionary society.



Columbanus (the Latinised form of Columbán)was born in Nobber, County Meath, Ireland, in the year Saint Benedict died, and from childhood was well instructed. His name may be looked on as the diminutive of "Colm" (a dove), or as Colm (Colum) Bán meaning the 'white dove'.He was handsome and prepossessing in appearance. Young Colum's striking looks exposed him to the shameless temptations of several of his countrywomen, so that he had to struggle with his own temptations. At last he went to see a religious woman, who advised him thus: "Twelve years ago I fled from the world, and shut myself up in this cell. Hast thou forgotten Samson, David and Solomon, all led astray by the love of women? There is no safety for thee, young man, except in flight." He thereupon decided to act upon this advice and retire from the world.

He encountered opposition, especially from his mother, who strove to detain him by casting herself before him on the threshold of the door. But conquering the feelings of nature, he passed over her prostrate form and left his home forever. His first master was Sinell, Abbot of Cluaninis in Lough Erne. The Irish words "Cluan Innish", which mean "meadow and island", have been contracted to "Cleenish", where the remains of the monastery can be seen at Bellanaleck, County Fermanagh. Under Sinell's instruction, Columbanus composed a commentary on the Psalms (for another identification, see Mo Sinu moccu Min).

He then moved to the celebrated monastery of Bangor on the coast of Down, which at that time had for its abbot St. Comgall. There Columbanus embraced the monastic state, and for many years led a life conspicuous for fervour, regularity and learning. At about the age of 40 he seemed to hear incessantly the voice of God bidding him to preach the Gospel in foreign lands. At first his abbot declined to let him go, but at length he consented.

Full article ▸

related documents
Pope Gregory I
John Chrysostom
Athanasius of Alexandria
Giotto di Bondone
Château de Chenonceau
Thomas More
John Wesley
Pope Pius X
John Calvin
Bernard of Clairvaux
Sistine Chapel
Cologne Cathedral
Diego Velázquez
Ecumenical council
Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
Canterbury Cathedral
Theodore the Studite
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Anointing of the Sick
Crown jewels