Friday, 17 June 2016

Colum Cille: 'A Prince by Descent, A Priest by Choice and a Saint by Grace'

We conclude the Octave of the Feast of Saint Colum Cille with this tribute from Henry P. Swan's collection of Donegal folklore:
Saint Colmcille or Columba, has been called the greatest of the Sons of Ireland. Donegal, his native county, honours him and is honoured by him.
A prince by descent, a priest by choice and a saint by grace, he continued the work commenced by Saint Patrick - for only some sixty years divided his birth from Saint Patrick's death.
Describing his personal characteristics, Neil M. Gunn  wrote of him: "Altogether he was a remarkable man. Tall, well-featured with long hair falling to each shoulder from the temples, he had a commanding presence, and was, in fact, full of restless energy, passionate and impetuous. He had that quality of voice which does not appear to be raised when speaking to those at hand, yet can be heard clearly at a distance. A statesman, an organiser, he was almost continuously on the move over land and sea, daring any peril, unsparing of himself, teaching, converting,  founding, succeeding."

H. P. Swan, Romantic Stories and Legends of Donegal, (Belfast, 1965), 75-76.

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