Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint Columba (521–597)

Saint Columba (521–597)

Patron saint of Ireland, Scotland, bookbinders, poets, and safety from floods

Feast day: June 9

Tradition tells us that Saint Columba was born in Donegal, Ireland. After completing his studies, Saint Columba was ordained to the priesthood and devoted a large portion of his life to preaching throughout Ireland and Scotland.

At the age of 42, Saint Columba left his residence in Ireland and settled on the island of Iona, off the coast of Scotland. After becoming acclimated, he started a monastery, shared the Good News of Jesus Christ with the Pict tribe, and established a monastic rule.

This monastery at Iona became an important center of Christian life, and it is thought that the famous Book of Kells (an illustrated book of the Gospels) originated in this monastery. Over time, due to political and religious upheavals, the monastic buildings fell into ruin. In modern times, they have been restored. Currently, a modern ecumenical community, the Iona Community, has its center of spiritual life here.  

(Image in public domain-70)