19 November 2015  

Saint Colombanus of Bobbio was born in Ireland between 540 and 543 and at a very young age decided to give his life to the Lord. He entered the monastery of Bangor in the northeast of the island and practiced for over thirty years the monastic discipline, leading a life centered on prayer, asceticism and study. At around the age of fifty, he made his “pilgrimage for Christ” (peregrinatio pro Christo) undertaking a missionary journey with some of his companions throughout the European continent. He left an important mark on the religious and cultural life of France and northern Italy through the monastic rule of Luxeuil (France), the promotion of penitential practices, and the large network of monasteries he or his disciples founded. The message of Saint Colombanus is centered on a strict call to conversion and a detachment from material things in view of the greater good of eternal life. The Philatelic and Numismatic Office is celebrating the 1400 years since his death with the issue of a postage stamp minisheet with four values. The image of the Saint featured on the stamps shows a detail of the stained glass of the crypt of the abbey founded by him in Bobbio (Italy), where he died in 615 and is buried. The upper part of the minisheet features his celebrated prayer, “Lord, uproot and remove from my soul all that the enemy has planted. Remove from my heart and my lips all iniquity, give me the intelligence and the habit of doing good so that in works and truth I serve only You. May I know how to fulfill the precepts of Christ and seek You, o God! Grant me memory, love and faith. May you accomplish your good works through me and give me that which You judge to be useful. Amen”.