St. Brendan the Voyager (484-577)
Commemorated May 16
The Navigator, The Voyager, The Anchorite, The Bold
St. Brendan is identified as one of the “Twelve Apostles of Ireland.” He is said to have been tutored by the great teacher, Finnian of Clonard. He is renowned for his legendary quest to the “Isle of the Blessed” to search for the Garden of Eden. His numerous voyages are of enduring European legends.
Very little information is available concerning St. Brendan’s life, and some of his life events are found in Irish genealogies. He was born in 484 in Tralee, in County Kerry in southwest Ireland of parents, Finnlug and Cara. He was baptized at a young age, and when he was six, he was sent to Saint Jarlath’s monastery school at Tuam to further his education.
St. Brendan was ordained a Catholic priest at the age of 26. Afterwards, he founded numerous monasteries in Ireland on the Aran Islands. During his sea travels, he visited and evangelized Argyll off of Scotland, Wales, and Brittany on the northern coast of France.
St. Brendan’s work as a churchman was developed in Western Ireland, where his most important foundations are found. He founded a monastery in Annaghdown, Ireland where he spent the remainder of his life. He also founded a convent for his sister Briga at Annaghdown.