Wednesday, November 23, 2011

November 23 - St Columbanus

Today is the feast of the great Irish monastic missionary, St Columbanus. He's been mentioned in The Inn before, not only because he was a traditionalist in his day, but because of this wonderful incident in the Rev Sabine Baring-Gould's Lives of the Saints:

He [St Columbanus] 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.

You can find the Rev Baring-Gould's complete life of St Columbanus here.

As for me, I'm going to ask the Irish lass in the other room if she wants to go for a walk.