In the troubled and violent Dark Ages in Northern Europe, monasteries served as inns, orphanages, centers of learning, and even as fortresses. The light of civilization flickered dimly and might have gone out altogether if it had not been for these convent-shelters.
Columba, a stern and strong monk from Ireland, founded three such establishments. He founded the monasteries of Derry and Durrow in his native Ireland, and the island monastery of Iona on the coast of Scotland. Iona was the center of operations for the conversion of the Scots and Picts, and became the most famous religious house in Scotland. There Columba baptized Brude, King of the Picts, and later a King of the Scots came to this Abbot of the "Holy Isle" for baptism.
The historian Bede tells us that Columba led many to Christianity by his "preaching and example." He was much admired for his physical as well as spiritual prowess. He was a strict ascetic and remained physically vigorous and unflagging in his missionary and pastoral journeys throughout his seventy-six years of life. The memory of Columba lives on in Scotland, and Iona, though desecrated during the Reformation, today houses a flourishing ecumenical religious community.
Propers for Columba of Iona - Missionary, Preacher and Abbot
O GOD, who by the preaching of thy blessed servant Columba didst cause the light of the Gospel to shine in the land of Scotland: Grant, we beseech thee, that having his life and labours in remembrance, we may show forth our thankfulness unto thee for the same by following the example of his zeal and patience; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Lesson - 1 Corinthians 3:11-23.
The Gospel - St. Luke 12:22-37.
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