St. Colmcille, also known as St. Columba, was a fiery preacher and a fierce evangelist in Northern Ireland in the 6th century. What do we know about this ancient saint?
Founder & Evangelist
Colmcille was born in Donegal in the 6th century, supposedly in the royal line of an ancient Irish war lord, Niall (cool!). He became a priest at age 20 and began a monastery in Derry, but traveled all around the country preaching and evangelizing.
It’s said that he founded 30 monasteries through his life and travels and that he was a fiery preacher. However, many didn’t find this an appealing quality. He was threatened with excommunication and eventually exiled to Scotland. told he would never “see Ireland again”. He returned to Ireland to help settle disputes and promote peace, but went blindfolded in order to fulfill the requirements of this exile (a man of pure principle!).
During his life, he wrote many hymns, transcribed books, prayed, fasted, and taught monks how to read. There’s a brief overview of his life here and you can even read about his connection with the Loch Ness Monster (Imagine Nessie standing up to St. Colmcille!)
With St. Patrick and St. Brigid, he is one of the Ireland’s patron saints. He is also the patron saint of Derry and his feast day is June 9.
Why a Crozier?
St. Colmcille was a priest and missionary in Northern Ireland in the 6th century who traveled throughout the country preaching and founding monasteries. He was a fiery preacher, a hymn writer, and an abbot, which is why he is usually pictured with a crozier.
Who would be friends with St. Colmcille?
- The Irish
- Assertive People (who sometimes are too blunt)
- Musicians (he wrote hymns!)
A Prayer of St. Colmcille
Be a bright flame before me, O God a guiding star above me. Be a smooth path below me, a kindly shepherd behind me today, tonight, and for ever. Alone with none but you, my God I journey on my way; what need I fear when you are near, O Lord of night and day? More secure am I within your hand than if a multitude did round me stand. Amen.
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