Columba: Missionary at Iona, Scotland Columba, was actually christened "Colum," (Latin = dove) after he was born (circa 521) in County Donegal, to Phelim and Ethene MacFergus now in the area known as Ulster, Ireland. His indigenous Celt Tribe family was not only of royalty (Oneills and King of Leinster, respectively), but his grandfather was baptized by none other than Saint Patrick. The Irish Christians, or peregrini, which included noteworthy missionaries to the Franks and other Germanic peoples, Columban, Mungo and Ninian, were almost the only light in an ever darkening dusk which was developing over Europe. They were concerned about the increasing chaos regarding immorality and corruption of nominal Christians in leadership, and among the rank and file.
The virility, intelligence, and most of all faithful devotion of "'Columcille" (Colum of the Church) were gifts that Cruithnechan the Priest and foster father brought to full and sanctified potential. His inclination to religious studies, even though he could have reigned over Tara, made him a candidate to study under Finnian of Moville: who forged him into a committed Bible studying Christian. Joining other gathering young students at Clonard, Columba soon became the favorite of another teacher named Finnian here. The new priest developed a missionary zeal at this time, where he is purported to have established an hundred from Derry, Durrow in Offaly, to Kells in Meath.
Tumultous events invaded Columba's world in 561 because of his zeal to dive deeper into the Scriptures. He copied some of Jerome's Psalter and Gospels from Finnian of Moville's Roman "souvenirs." Finnian of Clonard was so infuriated he demanded these precious manuscripts confiscated. Columba's refusal led to a civil war between cousin King of Tara, backing the Clonard Finnian, and between north country clansmen for the adamant priest. After more than three thousand were killed in Columba's men's victory at Culdrevney near Sligo, he festered in mounting guilt. This prompted his "exile for the love of Christ" and he left with twelve faithful for the island Iona, off the Scottish coast: habitat of pagans, especially Picts.
Columba paralleled Patrick: in his love of the Bible, actually living it. He consistently set an unselfish and pious example; loving books, and was fanatical on promoting missions. He, doing the work of an evangelist, repeatedly preached an exquisite uncompromising message for accepting Jesus Christ's salvation. Not a stranger to adventure, (his Ionian quest had just currently been realized and established), he set forth in 564 to Pict King Brude's Fortress on the banks of Loch Ness. In 575, the middle of his evangelism of Scotland from 563 to 597, he returned to Ireland and intervened during a meeting of disputing Irish bards. 1200 singers embarrassed the abbot when they sang to him their appreciation of his aiding their cause.
Not only did the exhausted Columba bless his fellow monks before he died on a Sunday in 597; but he blesses our generation too, because of his work initiated in Ireland, followed through Scotland, established in England and carried beyond.