Monday, November 23, 2009

St Columbanus

Today is the feast of the great Irish missionary monk, St Columbanus. He was also a staunch traditionalist in his day, holding the tradition of computing Easter that had been handed down to him.

This site gives an especially good life of St Columbanus. This is from the Rev Sabine Baring-Gould's "Lives of the Saints" and includes some of the wonderful legends that have been handed down to us. And it seems that Irish girls were as pretty then as now:

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.

Indeed. I married one of them.