This is from the pope's General Audience of 11 June. It's subject is the Irish monk, Columban, and his contribution to the Christian life of Europe. The Holy Father has been using the saints of Europe as topics for his audiences. Is this an attempt on his part to continue drawing Europe's attention to its Christian roots? I don't know, but it may be part of the strategy.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In today’s catechesis we turn to Saint Columban, one of the many Irish monks who contributed to the re-evangelization of Europe in the early Middle Ages. Columban made his monastic profession in Bangor and was ordained a priest. At the age of fifty, he left the monastery to begin missionary work in Europe, where entire regions had lapsed into paganism. Beginning in Brittany, Columban and his companions established monasteries at Annegray and Luxeuil. These became centres for the spread of the monastic and missionary ideals brought by the monks from their native Ireland. Columban introduced to Europe the Irish penitential discipline, including private confession. His stern moral teachings led to conflict with the local Bishops and the Frankish court, resulting in the exile of the Irish monks, first to the Rhineland and then to Italy. At Bobbio, where he established a great monastic centre, Columban worked for the conversion of the Arian Lombards and the restoration of unity with the Bishop of Rome. It was there that he died, leaving behind not only the example of an austere monastic life, but also a corpus of writings which shaped the monastic culture of the Middle Ages and thus nourished the Christian roots of Europe.
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© Copyright 2008 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
The Life of st. Columban, by the monk, Jonas, can be found here: