St. Columbanus is the best known of the Irish missionaries. Born in Leinster and ordained in 572 he went with 12 companions to France in 590. Among his companions were St. Gall and St. Deicholus. In Burgundy they set up monasteries in Annegray, Luxeuil and Fontaines and later other monasteries at Faremoutiers in 627, Jouarre in 630 and Rebais in 636.

His most famous monastery is in Bobbio in Italy where the Saints body is interred under the marble altar in the Basilica of St. Columbanus. The beautiful town of San Columbano was named after him

St. Gall settled in Switzerland. He led the people away from idolatry and the town and canton of St. Gall was called after him.

St. Goban Martyr A.D. 670. He built a church dedicated to St. Peter near Le Fere and Premontre. He was beheaded by German Barbarians. Town now known as San Goban.

St. Gibrian (A.D.515). One of 7 brothers and 3 sisters who left Ireland to serve God more freely in a strange land. They settled at the junction of the Cook and the Marne.

St. Fiachra (A.D.670). An Irish monk who sailed to France where he wanted to give himself more fully to God. However at Breuil in the province of Brie he set up a hospice for travellers which later developed into the village of Saint-Fiacre in Seine-et-Marne. The fame of his miracles of healing continued after his death. He is Patron Saint of gardeners and cab drivers of Paris.

St. Fursey (A.D.648) was born near Lough Corrib. He experienced wonderful ecstacies. Between 640 and 644 he crossed to Gaul and built a monastery at Lagny and died shortly after in 648. His remains were transferred to Peronne.

Reasons for Their Travels

Between the years 500 and 800 the people of Europe had suffered a lot with wars. These years were called the dark ages. People had forgotten about God in the 6th Century our Irish monks travelled across Europe preaching and bringing back the faith to the people. The monks decorated manuscripts made from calfskin. They were written in Latin and were mostly copies of the gospel and other parts of the bible. Popes and Kings of the time looked for advice from St. Columbanus