Today is the feast day of St. Columban, an Irish monk who died in 615. Sixty-six years ago I took an oath by which I joined the Columban Fathers, and by which I swore to honor the Irish saints on their feast days.
In 600 when Columban left Ireland to found monasteries in France and Switzerland there were no parish churches. There were wide stretches of woods inhabited by bears.
Columban and his monks welcomed woodsmen and hunting people to their monastery chapels, while they employed themselves making copies of the books of the Bible and of the literature of the lost civilizations of Greece and Rome.
Those men who gave up family life to keep faith and learning alive are long gone, but the results of their heroism are still with us; so we tell them thanks on their feast day.