Born at Gartan in Co Donegal, in 521, St Columba was trained as a monk first by Finian of Moville and then by Finian of Clonard. He spent 15 years in Ireland preaching and founding monasteries - the greatest of these being Kells, Durrow and Derry. Then in 565 he left with twelve companions for the Scottish island of Iona. There he founded the community that was to become the heart of Celtic Christianity.
From Iona, Columba and his monks made extensive journeys - evangelising the north of England and establishing religious communities. The king of the Picts, Brude, and many of his people, were converted after watching Columba drive away a sea monster.
According to his biographer Adomnan, writing a century later, Columba was a charismatic figure, who combined the skills of scholar, scribe, poet and ruler with a fearless commitment to God's cause.
On this day in 587, St Columba was copying the psalm: 'They that love the Lord shall lack no good thing' - when he had to stop as he was too weak to continue. He died shortly afterwards.
Adoman writes that he was: " loving to everyone, happy-faced, rejoicing in his inmost heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit."
See a video about St Columba here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSGKz3kETCk