He was born around 540 in the Leinster region and was educated at the important monastic center of Bangor, but he felt that his mission was the apostolate outside the confines of his island and left, at the age of forty, bringing the Gospel in Gaul, southern Germany and Switzerland; along its path, at Annegray, Fontaine, Luxeuil and San Gallo, cenobi – monasteries – flourished in which the Rule established by him was practiced.
In northern Italy, the story of one of the most important religious and cultural institutions of the Middle Ages started from the encounter between the Colombian evangelizing thrust and the foresight of Christian sovereigns: around 613 the monastery of Bobbio was founded. The chosen site was a hill town in the Trebbia valley, located along the Caminus Ianuae, the ancient road to Genoa. A small village, until then above all center of the exploitation of the salt pans – assigned to the Longobard leader Sundrarit – which destinies were to change completely.
Columban died shortly afterwards right here, in the year 615, on November 23rd (the date on which the feast occurs in the liturgical calendar), and his successors carried on the mission of the founder making the monastery ever larger.