Saint Gall

Saint Gall Like Columbanus, Gall was born in Leinster and experienced the severe monastic regime at Bangor. Joining Columbanus on his voyage to France, he served him faithfully until they parted acrimoniously at Bregenz in Switzerland in 612. When Gall insisted that a fever made him unfit for the difficult journey to Italy, the authoritarian Columbanus imposed on him a penance of never celebrating Mass during the older saint's lifetime. Gall observed this until 615, when he had a vision of Columbanus's death and offered Mass for the repose of his soul. He sent his astonished deacon Magnoald to Bobbio, whence he returned with the dead Columbanus's staff.

Nursed at Arbon by a sympathetic priest named Willemar, Gall regained his health and built a hermitage beside the River Steinach. There, it is said, he ordered a bear to go into the woods and collect firewood. The main credit for spreading Christianity among the Alemanni tribes belongs to Gall and his followers, and from small beginnings emerged the great medieval abbey of Saint Gall. He refused invitations to become bishop of Constance and abbot of Luxeuil, preferring to continue the mission he had begun after parting from Columbanus. Gall died at Arbon c. 640.