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Saint Brendan the Navigator

Updated on September 13, 2009

About Saint Brendan the Navigator

If you like to sail or travel by boat, then you should be praying to Saint Brendan the Navigator because he is your patron saint! Born in 460 in a small village in Ireland called Tralee, Saint Brendan was brought up to be a devout Christian by his family. Him and his sister Brig are both saints. Saint Ita was a huge mentor to Brendan throughout his life and taught him a lot about God and the Church.

Brendan always aspired to make a monastery when he was able to. So when he became old enough to do this he did so. Brendan found that many people thought he was a knowledgeable man and wanted to follow him. This was shocking to him, but he was more than welcoming to anybody who wished to join him in his learning. After a while he had to open more monasteries because his first one was getting too full! The most famous of these monasteries is located in Clonfert and is still visitable to this day.

Brendan would create many monasteries in his life, which could mostly be found in Scotland and Ireland near the Shannon River. Saint Malo and Saint Columba were both aquintances and friends of Brendan during his life.

Saint Brendan and a crew of monks from his monasteries crossed the Atlantic to the Americas. This apparently took place before Columbus and his men sailed over in 1492. This is unproven and we will never know who crossed the Atlantic first, but undoubtedly both men made a dangerous and thrilling journey.

Brendan and his crew also sailed through present day Iceland, Greenland, and other small countries in that area. They did so because Brendan saw apparitions of the Promised Land and took his crew to follow where he thought he saw it. They never found it but found a lot of other places in the process.

Saint Patrick and Saint Brendan, two of the most famous Irish saints, met during some of Brendan's travels. Brendan is rumored to have ridden on the back of a giant whale and battled sea mosters during his life, but these are stories and not facts. Towards the end of his life, Brendan took joy in running his numerous monasteries and leading a quiet, prayerful life in Ireland. He would pass away in 578 of natural causes.


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