Tuesday, June 8, 2010

St. Brendan the Navigator (c.484 to c.577)

Through literature and songs, the story of St. Brendan the Navigator continues to fascinate. He was born in Ciarraighe Luachra, County Kerry, Munster, Ireland c.484. He studied with St. Ita (often referred to as the St. Brigid of Munster) and was ordained a priest by his teacher St. Erc in 512.
For the next 18 years, St. Brendan the Navigator built monastic cells at the base of Mount Brandon, Shanakeel, and at Ardfert. Then, he made his famous seven-year voyage to the Isle of the Blessed, which was immortalized in the ninth century "Voyage of St. Brendan the Navigator."
Varying accounts say he set sail on the Atlantic with 14 pilgrims or 60 pilgrims and three Doubting Thomases who joined at the last second.
He is said to have travelled with St. Malo and St. Columba. They witnessed the lush vegetation of St. Brendan's Island and the hilarious adventure of landing on an island which turned out to be a sea monster or whale's back. The tale is thought to have inspired Pinocchio and Sinbad the Sailor.
Some people say St. Brendan the Navigator's story is allegory; others firmly believe it was based on actual facts.
The saint's final days were spent at his monastery at Annaghdown, County Galway, Connacht, Ireland, where he died c.577. His feast day is May 16 and he is the patron saint of many things including mariners, sailors, and whales.
St. Brendan the Navigator is one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland.

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