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St. Columbanus

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Feastday: November 24
Patron of motorcyclists
Birth: 540
Death: 615

Columbanus of Bobbio The founder of several European monasteries, St. Columbanus was born c. 543 in Leinster, Ireland, and was educated at Bangor. Late in life (c. 590), he left Ireland to establish, at the invitation of King Childebert of Burgandy, a monastery at Annegray. He founded monasteries at Luxovium (Luxeuil) and at Fountaines as well. In 603, a synod accused him of keeping Easter by the Celtic date, although the real charge seems to have been criticizing the lax morals of the Burgundian court. Columbanus appealed to Gregory the Great, but nothing is known of the outcome of this act. Seven years later, Columbanus left Burgandy to preach to the Allemani of Switzerland; when Burgandy captured Switzerland, he fled to northern Italy, where he established a monastery at Bobbio in 613. His monasteries were known for the strictness of their rules (which the Benedictines later ameliorated) and their emphasis on corporal punishment. In addition to his rule for monks, Columbanus wrote a peneteniary and poems. He died in 615 at Bobbio.


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