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Saint of the Day

Blessed Columba Marmion

October 3
Irish. 1858-1923. Beatified in 2000 by Pope John Paul II.

Son of an Irish father, William Marmion, and French mother, Herminie Cordier. He entered the seminary in Dublin, Ireland in 1874, and studied at the College for the Propagation of the Faith in Rome, Italy from 1876. Ordained in Rome on 16 June 1881.

He dreamed of becoming a missionary monk in Australia, but spent several years as a parish priest in Dublin. Curate in Dundrum, and professor at the seminary at Clonliffe from 1882 to 1886. Chaplain and spiritual director of a Redemptorist convent and a women's prison.

In 1886 he renounced his promising ecclesiastical career, and entered the Benedictine Abbey of Maredsous in Belgium, taking the name Columba. Nearly 30 at the time of his noviate, and forced to learn a new language at the same time, he persevered and made his solemn profession on 10 February 1891.

Helped found the abbey of Mont Cesar at Leuven, Belgium; served as its prior, spiritual director, and professor of theology and philosophy to younger monks. Began preaching retreats in Belgium and Britain. Spiritual director to communities of Carmelite nuns. Researcher and editor of several publications, including Revue Benedictine. Elected abbot of Maradsous on 28 September 1909, a position he held the rest of his life.

During his time as abbot, Maredsous, famous for its beer and cheese, became a focal point for spiritual thinking in Europe. Worked for the union of Anglican Benedictine houses with Rome, and helped a house of Anglican monks who converted to Catholicism. Counselor to Queen Elisabeth of Belgium.

While the walls stood, World War I effectively destroyed his abbey. German lay-brothers, who had been there for years, were expelled from Belgium. Columba sent young monks to study in Ireland; they would be safer there, but the remaining brothers, including Columba, had to shoulder more work. After the war, a group of the brothers were sent to the Monastery of the Dormitian in Jerusalem, which had been left nearly deserted when the British expelled German monks. Amidst it all, Columba continued to preach retreats, guide the lost, and write.

The investigation for his Cause began on 7 February 1957, and the healing of a Minnesota woman in 1966 was performed through his intercession.

"Jesus told His Apostles that after He had returned to heaven, He would send them the Holy Spirit. In His Divine Nature, Jesus is, with the Father, the principle from which the Holy Spirit proceeds. The gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church and to souls is a priceless gift, since this Spirit is Divine Love in Person. But this gift, like every grace, was merited for us by Jesus. It is the fruit of His Passion." -from 'Mission of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost) by Abbot Marmion

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