Catholic Activity: St. Columba, Abbot

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A short description of Scotland's famous abbot, St. Columba.

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The traveler in Scotland soon grows acquainted with a surprisingly good cake called a bannock. And once having eaten a bannock, it goes without saying he or she must hear the story of St. Columba, Scotland's most famous saint.

A mighty worker and founder of many monasteries was St. Columba, born in Ireland's County Donegal in the year 521. From earliest childhood, his thoughts turned heavenward, and he made his whole life both austere and full of good works. An Abbott by the time he was 40, he took twelve companions and set off for Scotland to convert the Picts. Those wild, fierce people of the Scottish hills grew to love him for his zeal and generosity. In fact, they even gifted him with an island all his own — the island of Iona. On that isle, he founded his most famous monastery of all, where in a tiny cell he lived a life of rigid self-denial. Columba slept on a slab of rock and lived on barley or oat cakes — bannocks — and water. This frugal but wholesome fare he shared with all comers, until he "sweetly slept in the Lord."

Activity Source: Cook's Blessings, The by Demetria Taylor, Random House, New York, 1965