St Gallus, Hermit
October 16 is the Commemoration of St Gallus, Hermit
“Saint Gall, Gallen, or Gallus (c. 550 – c. 646) was an Irish disciple and one of the traditional twelve companions of Saint Columbanus on his mission from Ireland to the continent. Saint Deicolus is called an older brother of Gall.
The fragmentary oldest Life was recast in the 9th century by two monks of Reichenau, enlarged in 816–824 by the celebrated Wettinus, and about 833–884 by Walafrid Strabo, who also revised a book of the miracles of the saint. Other works ascribed to Walafrid tell of Saint Gall in prose and verse.
Gall was born in 550. As a young man he went to study under Comgall of Bangor. The monastery at Bangor had become renowned throughout Europe as a great centre of Christian learning. Studying in Bangor at the same time as Gall was Columbanus, who with twelve companions, set out about the year 589, bidding a lifelong farewell to home and friends to face unknown difficulties and dangers in the extension of the Gospel.
Gall and his companions established themselves with Columbanus at first at Luxeuil in Gaul. In 610 A.D., St. Columban was exiled by leaders opposed to Christianity and fled with St. Gall to Switzerland. He accompanied Columbanus on his voyage up the Rhine River to Bregenz but when in 612 Columbanus travelled on to Italy from Bregenz, Gall had to remain behind due to illness and was nursed at Arbon. He remained in Swabia, where, with several companions, he led the life of a hermit in the forests southwest of Lake Constance, near the source of the river Steinach. Saint Gall was soon known in Switzerland as a powerful preacher.
When the See of Constance became vacant, the clergy who assembled to elect a new Bishop were unanimously in favour of Gall. He, however, refused, pleading that the election of a stranger would be contrary to Church law. Some time later, in the year 625, on the death of Eustasius, abbott of Luxeuil, a monastery founded by Saint Columbanus, members of that community were sent by the monks to request Saint Gall to undertake the government of the monastery. He refused to quit his life of solitude, and undertake any office of rank which might involve him in the cares of the world. He was then an old man.
He died at the age of ninety-five around 646–650 in Arbon.”