May 16, 2012

Happy St. Brendan's Day!

St. Brendan's Clonfert Cathedral
Photo by Jamie Chavez
He's one of the most interesting Irish saints, in my opinion, and there are plenty! Today is his feast day, a fine time to chat a bit about the man.

He's most famous for his voyage, which may have taken him to America. If you haven't read Tim Severin's book about his re-creation of St. Brendan's journey, I highly recommend it. He sought out to show how a 6th century Irish monk could have sailed to North American in a leather boat.

From my book Celtic Wisdom:

pg. 50
"He was in pursuit of Tir-na-n-Og, the Land of the Young, a fabled island spoken of since pre-Christian times. In the Middle Ages Brendan the Navigator's story was translated into many languages and was told all over Europe. Even Christopher Columbus, before making his famous 'discovery of America' in the fifteenth century, is said to have sought out navigation advice from the Irish, and he included Irishmen in his crew. Some believe that Brendan's journey, in the sixth century, actually took the Irish monks to the North American shore..."
pg. 51
"The point of the story was not the physical journey, although that made for good entertainment and the story contains a great deal more concrete details and clues than most of the ancient saint narratives. Even so, the spiritual journey was much more important, as it was to all the ancients who sought to be a wanderer for Christ."

If you'd like to read Nauigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis [the Voyage of St Brendan the Abbot], the story that was a Medieval best seller, you can find it online here.

Happy St. Brendan's Day to you! May you enjoy your life journey and discover the blessing of God on the way!

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