Saturday, May 16, 2015

St. Brendan the Navigator

St. Brendan of Clonfert (Irish: Naomh Breandán; Icelandic: Brandanus) was called "the Navigator", "the Voyager", or "the Bold" and is one of the early Irish monastic saints. He is chiefly renowned for his legendary quest to the "Isle of the Blessed," also called Saint Brendan's Island. The Voyage of Saint Brendan could be called an immram (as Irish navigational story). He was also one of the 12 Apostles of Ireland.
Our venerable and God-bearing father St. Brendan was a sixth-century Irish Orthodox monk. He was perhaps the first Orthodox Christian to set foot on Canadian soil, and as such, is the first of the saints to set foot in North America. He is also known as Brendan of Clonfert. He is remembered by the Church on May 16.
St Brendan was born around 484 at Tralee in Kerry, Ireland. He founded several monasteries in Ireland, including Cluain Ferta Brenaind (or Clonfert) in County Galway. His missionary and pastoral travels took him on voyages to the Scottish islands, and possibly even to Wales.
A Latin chronicle of the early 9th century, Navigatio Brendani (The Voyage of Brendan), made him the hero of a Christian adventure that included voyages to unknown lands far to the west of Ireland. The account indicates that Irish voyagers visited America as early as the 8th century, before the Vikings; but whether St. Brendan himself made these voyages is disputed, based mainly on questions as to whether a curragh, the sea craft on which Brendan sailed, would be able to make such a journey.
On his voyage, he encountered various sights such as icebergs and sea animals such as whales and porpoises which he suggests are factual counterparts to the fantastic sights from the legends of Brendan. (See The Brendan Voyage, ISBN 0-349-10707-6.)
He reposed in peace in 577. 

Saint Brendan is the Patron Saint of sailors and travellers. 

Read the children's book "Saint Brendan And The Voyage Before Columbus" by Mike McGrew

Create a handprint boat with younger children
Or a sailboat made out of a paper plate and construction paper like this:
Or even a potato sailboat stamp boat like this one:

Color a picture of St. Brendan's boat and write the following prayer (below)
Shall I abandon, O King of mysteries, the soft comforts of home?
Shall I turn my back on my native land, and turn my face towards the sea?
Shall I put myself wholly at Thy mercy, without silver, without a horse, without fame, without honour?
O King of the Glorious Heaven, shall I go of my own choice upon the sea?
O Christ, wilt Thou help me on the wild waves?
      - Prayer of St. Brendan the Voyager