Saint Columban

Feast day November 23

Saints Stories for All Ages

Columban was born in Ireland before the middle of the sixth century. He entered a monastery and led a life of prayer and study for 30 years. Then in 591, he and 12 companions were sent to Europe as missionaries.

They made their way through France, Switzerland, and Italy, establishing the monasteries that were to become centers for Christianity, learning, and prayer. Columban wrote a strict rule for these monasteries, and he tried to reform the lives of the clergy, the nobility, and the laypeople. He attacked abuses and evil wherever he saw them. He spoke out loudly against the immorality that was common among royalty. Finally, he was exiled for pointing out the king’s sins and for criticizing the bishops for not also speaking out against the king. While Columban was being deported, he was shipwrecked and ended up in Italy, where he was befriended. While he was there, he founded a monastery in Bobbio. There he died in 615.


  • Have the students compose 10 rules for Christian living or for a Christian community.

  • Saints can make mistakes. Discuss the positive aspects of making mistakes and our obligation to study, pray, form Christian consciences, and live good lives.

Excerpted from Christ Our Life, by Sisters of Notre Dame of Chardon, Ohio

Image credit: Saint Colambanus window in the crypt at the Abbey of Bobbio by unknown artist, 2010. Public Domain via Wikimedia.