Saint Brendan the Navigator

detail of a stained glass window of Saint Brendan the Navigator, date unknown, artist unknown; church of Saint James, Glenleigh, Kerry, Ireland; photographed on 9 September 2012 by Andreas F. Borchert; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsAlso known as

  • Brendan the Voyager
  • Brendan McFinlugh
  • Brendan of Clonfert
  • Brendan of Cluain Ferta
  • Borodon….
  • Brandan….
  • Brendain….
  • Breandan….



Son of Findloga; brother of Saint Briga. Monk. Educated by Saint Ita of Killeedy and Saint Erc of Kerry. Friend of Saint Columba and Saint Brendan of Birr, Saint Brigid, and Saint Enda of Arran. Ordained in 512. Built monastic cells at Ardfert, Shankeel, Aleth, Plouaret, Inchquin Island, and Annaghdown. Founded Clonfert monastery and monastic school c.559. Legend says that this community had at least three thousand monks, and that their Rule was dictated to Brendan by an angel.

Brendan and his brothers figure in Brendan’s Voyage, a tale of monks travelling the high seas of the Atlantic, evangelizing to the islands, possibly reaching the Americas in the 6th century. At one point they stop on a small island, celebrate Easter Mass, light a fire – and then learn the island is an enormous whale!







Let the brothers and sisters now sing
Of the holy life of Brendan;
In an old melody
Let it be kept in song.

Loving the jewel of chastity,
He was the father of monastics.
He shunned the choir of the world;
Now he sings among the angels.

Let him pray that we may be saved
As we sail upon this sea.
Let him quickly aid the fallen
Oppressed with burdensome sin.

God the Father; Most High King
Breast-fed by a virgin mother;
Holy Spirit: when They will it,
Let Them feed us divine honey.

– Guido of Ivrea, 11th century; English translation from the Latin by Karen Rae Keck, 1994

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Brendan the Navigator“. CatholicSaints.Info. 31 August 2021. Web. 25 January 2022. <>