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Today the church remembers Columba, Abbot of Iona, 597.In the troubled and violent Dark Ages in Northern Europe, monasteries served as inns, orphanages, centers of learning, and even as fortresses. The light of civilization flickered dimly and might have gone out altogether had it not been for these convent-shelters. Columba, a stern and strong monk from Ireland, founded three such establishments. He founded the monasteries of Derry and Durrow on his native island, and Iona on the coast of Scotland. Iona was the center of operations for the conversion of the Scots and Picts and became the most famous religious house in Scotland. There Columba baptized Brude, King of the Picts, and later a king of the Scots came to this abbot of the “Holy Isle” for baptism. The historian Bede tells us that Columba led many to Christianity by his “preaching and example.” He was much admired for his physical as well as spiritual prowess. He was a vigorous ascetic and was still quite active when he died, nearly eighty years old. The memory of Columba lives on in Scotland. Iona, though desecrated during the Reformation, is today a protestant religious community. Almighty God, you did choose your servant Columba to be an apostle to the people of Scotland, to bring those who were wandering in darkness to your true light: Grant us to walk in that same light. Amen.
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O God, by the preaching of your blessed servant Columba you caused the light of the Gospel to shine in Scotland: Grant, we pray, that, having his life and labors in remembrance, we may show our thankfulness to you by following the example of his zeal and patience; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.