St. Colman Travels to Aranmore (Island) 580 A.D.
oung Colman was raised and tutored privately in the school of Holy Virtue and at maturity was ordained a priest. He then set out alone for the famous and celebrated island of Aranmore, "Aran of the Saints."
This rugged island in the Atlantic had gained a reputation throughout Western Europe as a sanctuary of piety. The number of saints who lived there was very great. Some of the more well known were St. Enda, St. Iarlath, St. Mac Creighe, St. Brendan, St. Tapeus, and St. Ciaran. The island is one of the most harsh and barren places on earth. St. Enda, mentioned in the list above, was the head of the key monastery on Aranmore. He was a master in the spiritual life and instructed St. Colman Mac Duagh and other disciples in the path of holiness.
Isolated from the world, these lovers of Christ crucified, turned away from its luxuries and temptations, content with the simple necessities of life procured only by incessant toil. St. Ambrose of Milan, Italy and Holy Doctor of the Church, was familiar with the renowned Aranmore. He beautifully described these islands himself as a:
"...necklet of pearls which God has set upon the bosom of the sea, and in which those who would fly the irregular pleasures of the world may find a refuge wherein to practice austerity, and save themselves from the snares of this life. The sea that enfolds them becomes, as it were, a veil to hide the mortal eye their deeds of penance; it aids them to acquire perfect continence; it feeds grave and solemn thought; it has the secret of peace, and repels all the fierce passions of earth. In it those faithful and pious men found incentives to devotion. The mysterious sound of the billows calls for the answering sound of sacred psalmodies, and the peaceful voices of holy men, mingled with the gentle murmurs of the waves breaking softly on the shore, rise in unison to the heavens."1
It is here where St. Colman Mac Duagh grew in perfection of that spirit of prayer, retirement, and austerity of life which were the hallmarks of his sanctity. St. Colman stayed several years at Aranmore, enough to build two Churches there. One was called Teampuill (Temple) Mor Mhic Duagh and the other was named Teampuill beg Mhic Duagh. Both are close to each other, and form a portion of that well-known group of Churches at Kilmurvy, known as The Seven Churches.
However, the seclusion of Aranmore was in the end insufficient to satisfy the yearning of St. Colman. He resolved to hide himself in some deeper solitude that he might abandon himself more completely to the influence of that all-absorbing spirit of prayer and mortification with which he was deeply imbued.
1 Hexaemeron, lib. Iii. cap. v.
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