Comgall was born in Ulster and became a warrior as a young man. He was then discipled by Fintan before taking up a life of severe asceticism on the island in Lough Erne. This prepared him for his life’s work, and in 559 he went on to found Bangor Monastery on the south shore of Belfast Lough. Here Columbanus (see November 23rd) and others were trained. With Columba (see June 9th) and Kenneth, Comgall visited Inverness and together they challenged Brude, the King of the Picts, and his druids. Bangor had a famous perpetual choir which sang continuous praises on a shift system for 150 years. The standards Comgall set in the monastery lived on, even after its destruction. Whilst this rule was extremely strict, it was moderated by Comgall’s strong belief in spiritual direction and his insistence on everyone having a soul friend to rely on, saying, ‘A man without a soul friend is a body without a head.’ Those who were trained in this monastery were well able to demonstrate how the devil in all of us may be bridled and controlled. From Bangor Monastery’s library comes much of our knowledge of Irish spirituality in those times.
Our prayer is based on The Rule of St. Comgall:
Help us to preserve Your rule, Lord Jesus, and avoid transgressing it all of our lives. May we love You and hate wealth, be devoted to You and show kindness to all people. Lead us on to the path of repentance, advancing one step every day, not charging ahead like a charioteer. Amen.