Jun 9 - “St. Columba and Ernan” © icon by Lewis Williams, OFS. Happy Feast Day St. Columba!
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St. Columba, also known as Columcille (which means ‘dove’), together with St. Patrick and St. Brigid are the patron saints of Ireland. A poet and an artist, he founded many communities in Ireland, including Iona in Scotland. This icon is based on a story from his visit to the monastery at Clonmacnoise. A large crowd formed to greet Columba, pressing round to be near his holiness. A troublesome youth of the community, much looked down upon by his seniors, approached from behind, attempting a touch Columba’s garment. The saint noticed the boy, taking hold of him by the neck. The crowd cried to send him away, but the saint hushed them. He had the boy open his mouth, and he blessed his tongue and prophesied that although they scorned and despised him now, from that hour he would cease to displease them; that day by day he would grow in wisdom and be an outstanding figure in the community and great teacher of salvation.
In this icon, Celtic calligraphy frames the border, and an image from the Book of Kells (some of the Book illuminations possibly by Columba) forms the arch-like setting. The stone cross is from Clonmacnoise. Communities often gathered at the outdoor crosses for instruction. Columba carries the staff of an abbot and holds Ernan by the neck, blessing him with the other hand. Youths are easily dismissed and disregarded. May we all believe that goodness and giftedness will grow in them in the powerful light of faith. This icon marks the 75th anniversary of St. Columba’s College in Hertfordshire, England in 2014.
His feast day is June 9.