History, VOLUME 11

St. Brendan the Navigator [Feast Day, May 16]

St. Brendan

Today, May 16, is the feast day of St. Brendan the Navigator, who is believed to have lived in the sixth century.

Saint Brendan of Clonfert (c. AD 484 – c. 577), called “the Navigator”, “the Voyager”, “the Anchorite”, and “the Bold”, is one of the early Irish monastic saints and one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland. He is primarily renowned for his legendary quest to the “Isle of the Blessed”, also denominated “Saint Brendan’s Island”.

READ MORE about St. Brendan’s life, including an outline of the story of his voyage, on Wikipedia.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Poem:
The Death of St. Brendan


[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”250″ identifier=”0060611782″ locale=”US” src=”https://englewoodreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/41lDlJg0Z1L.jpg” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”166″ alt=”St.Brendan” ]Brendan’s life was also depicted in one of Frederick Buechner’s finest novels.

Revisioning the inspiration for one of the most popular and enduring medieval legends, Frederick Buechner tells the tale of the colorful sixth-century Irish saint Brendan through the eyes of his loyal friend and follower, Finn. This animated vision of Brendan’s dynamic path chronicles the Celtic world of fifteen hundred years ago and contains all the complex moral messages that abound in the best mythology. “Thematically speaking, much of the masterfulness of Brendan has its source in Buechner’s imagining the resounding clash between paganism and Christianity in the youthful days of the Christian faith in Ireland…Yet, with the several explorations into new territories, essential Buechnerian themes such as the mixture of false and true and the possibility of God’s involvement in the human experience remain in Brendan.” – W. Dale Brown,  Brendan has won the Christianity and Literature Book Award for Belles-Lettres.  (via frederickbuechner.com )

 [ Our Intro Reading Guide to Frederick Buechner’s Books ]


<<<<<< Yesterday’s Saint of the Day


IMAGE CREDIT: St. Brendan the Navigator statue Great Samphire Rock in Fenit Harbour, Tralee
Creative Commons License via Wikimedia Commons.


C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com

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