St. Brendan the Navigator (or Brandan or Brenainn), was born in what is now County Kerry, Ireland, about 486 A.D. He was a great traveler and founder of churches and monasteries.
According to famous medieval legend, Brendan and a band of intrepid monks embarked in a small leather boat upon a long and fantastic voyage around the Atlantic in search of “Terra Repromissionis,” or The Promised Land. Brendan was over 80 years old at the start. The Navigatio Brendani, which dates from the 11th century, contains the earliest surviving version of this story and became a multi-language “best-seller” in its time.
Their many adventures included?being blown onto an island where they were met by a dog who led them to prepared meals, but no humans.Their next landfall was an island of sheep with streams of trout. Then they sailed to one that was completely barren. As they began to build a fire and make camp, the island began to move. The terrified monks ran back to their boat and pushed off just as the “island” swim away with their fire still burning on its back. They had made camp on Jaconious, an enormous whale who kindly forgave them and came to their aid several times throughout the voyage.
On another island, thousands of birds of all types joined the monks in their prayers. It was a little bird that told Brendan the voyage would last not the 40 days he had planned, but seven years.
Shortly after their return, Brendan died, at approximately age 93 at Annaghdown, Co. Galway.
St. Brendan’s Island became a standard feature on maps for the next millennium (finally removed as no one was ever able to find it).
Despite the incredible tales about Brendan’s voyage, there is some evidence that he might actually have reached North America. The point has been made that some of the exotic animals and plants and place described in the legend did exist in the “New World.” The lands and seas he described could well be in the Caribbean as well as on the North American continent; the crystal pillars, icebergs near Greenland In 1977, adventurer Tim Severin reached Newfoundland in a boat built according to the specifications laid down in the Navigatio.
Below are some informative, eclectic,
connections to Brendan
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Biography of Brendan from Wikipedia
Brendan the Navigator – a highly informative site with much historical information and images.
Info on Brendan and his voyage from Catholic Encyclopedia
The Voyage of Bran, Son of Febal set to music, from Lost Civilizations.net.
Celtic Monasticism as a metaphor for Thomas Merton’s Journey. Merton found in Celtic Monasticism and in The Voyage of St. Brendan, in particular, a way of understanding monastic life offers the history and spirituality of Celtic monasticism, including several in-depth virtual tours of Celtic monastic sites. & The Uniqueness of Celtic Monasticism from The Celtic Monk.
Clonfert Cathedral, also known as St. Brendan’s Cathedral, is a 12th-century Hiberno-Romanesque structure on the site of Saint Brendan’s 6th-century monastery in Clonfert, Ireland. Although the building currently serves a Church of Ireland congregation, Irish Protestants and Catholics share interest in preserving this relic of their common cultural heritage.
Photo of Monks’ Early Monastic Churches from Ask About Ireland
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Elderhostel, Inc. (now called Road Scholar) is a not-for-profit organization with 25 years of experience providing high-quality, affordable, educational adventures for adults who are 55 and older. These short-term educational programs are a fun and exciting way for you to share new ideas, explore new places and make new friends.
SAINT BRENDÁN THE NAVIGATOR Church of the Culdees: ” A rebirth in and for modern America
of the Orthodox Catholic Church of the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon peoples prior to 1066″ Located in Springfield Oregon
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A theory that ancient Celts or even Brendan possibly made it to West Virginia
Scientists group all whales into two categories: toothed whales and baleen whales. As the names suggest, one type of whale has teeth. The other type has something very different, called baleen, instead of teeth….lots of very interesting info here: Understanding Whale Teeth. (and thanks to Danielle in Ms. McDowell’s fifth grade class for sharing her discovery!)
Whalenet interactive educational web site which focuses on whales and marine research. WhaleNet is sponsored by Wheelock College.
The Marine Mammal Center‘s sole purpose: to save marine mammals
and their environment before it’s too late.
The Ocean Alliance is dedicated to the conservation of whales and their ocean environment through research and education. The Voyage of the Odyssey, embarked February 2000, taking the world with it via the Internet so that everyone gets to share in the adventure and learn new things about the seas at the same moment the crew is learning about them (both audio and video).
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Please see PatriArts Gallery for our selection of St. Brendan art, chaplets, jewelry and much more.
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Please send us your connections! (Or corrections)