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Saint Columba
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Religious Figure
    (December 12, 521-June 9, 597)
    Born in Gartan, Ireland
    Sixth century Irish Catholic priest and missionary to Scotland
    Patron saint of Derry, Ireland
    Founded many monasteries and schools
    As a priest, he twice led his clan into battle against rival clans including one over the disputed ownership of a copy of the Psalms which cost over 3,000 lives.
    His name sounds feminine and is derived from Latin words meaning, 'church' and 'dove.'
    He was descended from Irish 'royalty.'
    He repeatedly got involved in secular politics.
    He oppressed members of the members of the Druid religion.
    He has never actually been canonized as a saint, just informally honored as one.
    Horrified by his involvement in battles and threatened with excommunication and being stripped of his priestly office, he exiled himself from his beloved Ireland and became a missionary to Scotland.
    Rare in his time and place, he was literate in Latin.
    Devoted to learning, he founded many schools and is believed to have established the first centers of literacy in Ireland and Scotland and to have transcribed over three hundred books.
    He wrote Latin hymns some of which remarkably still survive.
    A surprisingly reliable hagiography (biography of a saint) was written in the century after his death.
    According to legend, after a 'water beast' killed a local Pict and attacked one of his followers, he banished it to Loch Ness.
    He predicted healings and his own death.
    His life and devotion to learning led to the establishment of the monastic system in Ireland and Scotland that was responsible for the preservation of learning during the Dark Ages.
    He is so legendary in Scotland that even the protestant Scottish Presbyterian Church honors him.

Credit: tom_jeffords

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