Friday, October 8, 2010

St. Gall (c.550 to c.646)

   While picnicking with friends at Black Rock Beach on Block Island, I watched as a fluffy bird, exhausted and fearful after being chased by a hawk, plopped down in front of us. At first it appeared to be blood splattered, but when I went to stroke its back, I noticed that some of the feathers were a speckled red color.
  It was a woodpecker which my friends believed had flown all the way from Long Island. We gave it some water in a soda bottle cap and then watched as it put its head under its wing and fell asleep, with the hawk still circling above it.
  We also built a stone barrier around the woodpecker to protect it from the wind. Forty five minutes later, when our picnic was finished, the bird awoke and flew into a hole in the cliffs, safe from harm.
  It reminded me that at times we all feel we're begin attacked by predators. Maybe not in a physical way, but in an emotional sense.
  There will always be people who will try to intimidate or make us feel insecure like the hawk looking down at the woodpecker.  How should one deal with it? Ignore it no matter how hard that might be.
  St. Gall is the patron saint of birds. He was born in Ireland c.550 and studied at Bangor Abbey as a student of St. Columba.
  St. Gall was an Irish disciple and one of the 12 companions of St. Columbanus. He followed him into exile in 610. St. Gall lived as a hermit on the Steinach River. He was a priest and exorcist who died c.646 in Switzerland. His feast day is Oct. 16.

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