St. Brendan, Abbot | Saint of the Day | May 16

Prayer to St. Brendan, Abbot

Lord, amid the things of this world, let us be wholeheartedly committed to heavenly things in imitation of the example of evangelical perfection You have given us in St. Brendan the Abbot. Amen.

St. Brendan, Abbot

Patron of Sailors

St. Brendan, one of the most popular Irish Saint, was a missionary voyager who is sometimes credited with the discovery of America. He is thought to have been born in County Kerry, Ireland, about 484 and given to the care of St. Ita as an infant for five years.

Brendan was then cared for by Bishop Erc, who eventually ordained him to the priesthood. St. Jarlath also rendered edification and counsel to the young Brendan, who went on to live as a monk in an established community.

We know that the Saint made a sea voyage to the Scottish Isles and even to Wales. He is also thought to have visited St. Gildas in Britain and performed some miracles there. St. Brendan founded numerous monastic communities, including the one at Clonfert in 559, which grew to hold some 3000 monks. He also produced a Rule that was said to have been dictated by an Angel.

Worn out by a life of accomplishments for God, Brendan died about 577/583 while visiting his sister Brig, who was the Abbess of a community of nuns at Enach Duin. In legend, this Saint is known as Brendan the Navigator, who once made a seven-year voyage in search of fabled paradise (“The Land of Promise”), which is recounted in an epic saga known as The Voyage of St. Brendan the Abbot. In this journey, Brendan is said to have started off with sixty companions in a kind of floating monastery and made his way to the Canary Islands and then to the coast of Greenland.