Saturday, November 23, 2013

St Columbanus

The 23d of November is the feast of the great Irish missionary and monastic founder St Columbanus.  As always on this day, The Inn reprints a paragraph from the Rev Sabine Baring-Gould's life of the saint (and not just because St Columbanus was a great traditionalist in his day, holding to the method of calculating Easter handed down to him by his spiritual fathers).

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.
So he went to France.

And then Italy.

Really;  you could look it up.