Today is the feast day of St. Brendan. I confess this one would have passed me by, but for the fact that I went to St. Brendan’s Diocesan High School in Brooklyn (many years ago) and one of my former classmates posted a portrait of Brendan on our old school’s Facebook page this morning.
Brendan, who lived during the sixth century is remembered mostly for his legendary journey to the Isle of the Blessed – a place considered an earthly paradise in Greek mythology. Many versions of the story of his voyage exist, describing his Atlantic Ocean voyage with a number of pilgrims in search of this earthly paradise.
Did Brendan really see the island during his travels? Did he really encounter a sea monster along the way? Was the voyage really seven years long? Who knows. But for years (and perhaps still today) pilgrims flocked to Ardfert, one of the places at which Brandan built a monastic cell and the place from which he set out on his voyage.
Whatever the truth of his famous journey, we remember Brendan as a patron saint of sailors and travelers. (Doubtless my high school’s alma mater contained lyrics that would tell more of this saint, but I can’t remember a word of it.)
St. Brendan the Navigator, patron saint of sailors and travelers, pray for us.