Thursday 13 June 2013

Vignettes from the Lives of the Irish Saints: Saint Colum Cille, the Gambler and the Poor Man

85. Another time when Columcille was in Derry, there came to him a gambler and a poor man. And he gave a groat to the gambler and a penny to the poor man. And it seemed passing strange to all that he gave more to the gambler than to the poor man. God revealed to Columcille that all were amazed thereat. And Columcille bade certain that were present to follow the gambler and the poor man to see what they would do with the money he had given them. And they found the gambler in a tavern drinking the worth of the groat and sharing it with every needy man that came to him. And it is thus they found the poor man: dead upon the road, and the penny Columcille had given him sewed in his garments, and five marks thereto. And they came with these tidings to Columcille.

And Columcille said: “God did manifest to me that the poor man had but thus long to live, and even had his life been long, he would have put to no use either for himself or for any other what he might have; but he would hoard it up, as he hath done the five marks. And albeit the gambler was an evil man in himself, yet did he not hoard what he gat, but with the worth of the groat he sustained himself and other poor men that were in need, and for this I gave him more than I gave the poor man.”


  1. Requesting permission to use blue and white image of St Brigid. Thank you. Happy Feast!

  2. That image is from my own personal collection and was bought at an auction. You can use it with my blessing and I trust that of Saint Brigid!