Appeared in Fall 1991,  Vol. XVII, No. 3

The year 1992 will commemorate the fourteen hundredth anniversary of St. Columban’s missionary expedition to Luxeuil. This site grew into one of the most important monastic settlements in Europe. St. Columban was a shining light of sacred and secular learning who clearly showed that the “Dark Ages” were not completely bereft of culture and godliness. This was due in no small part to the work of Celtic missionaries such as St. Columban.

Few Christians would recall Luxeuil as an important place in Christian history, yet it was instrumental in the expansion of Irish monasticism in Europe and certainly the expansion of Christianity in the area now known as France. In fact this establishment has been called a “French Monte Cassino” and “the Holy Spirit of the West.”1 The leader of the monastery holds a more familiar name, Columbanus, or as he has many times been called, Columban. His influence on the growth of Christianity in France is of such signicance that one would have to wait until the twelfth century, the era of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, before there existed a saint “exercising a comparable ascendancy in France.”2 This upcoming year, 1992, marks the fourteen hundredth anniversary of Columban’s monastic settlement at Luxeuil in 592.3 Due to its significant role in Christian history yet unknown status among many Christians, it is beneficial to consider the importance of Luxeuil and the role Columban played in its development.

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