Brendan (Brandan, or Brenainn)

Brendan (Brandan, Or Brenainn)

is the name, according to Colgan, of fourteen Irish saints. Two only of them are conspicuous; and with the exception of Brendan, abbot of Fobhar, commemorated July 27, but little is known of the other minor saints.

1. BRENDAN OF BIRR, commemorated November 29, was the son of Neman and Mansenna, of the race of Corb Olum. Lanigan (Eccles. Hist. of Ireland, 2:38), however, calls him the son of Luaigene. The monastery over which he presided, and from which he received his designation, viz. Birr (or Bior), is now represented by Parsonstown. He is sometimes called "Senior Brendanus," to distinguish him from St. Brendan of Clonfert. An intimate friend and companion of St. Columba, he seems to have aided him at the Synod of Teltown, and protested against the attempt to excommunicate him. He died on the eve of November 29, 573. His Acts are preserved in the Cod. Salmant.

2. BRENDAN OF CLONFERT, commemorated May 16, was the founder of the Church of Cluainfearta, now Clonfert. He was the son of Finulogh, brother of Domaingen, bishop of Tuaim-Muscraighe, and Brigh (or Briga), abbess of Enach-duin. He was born about 482 (or 484), in Kerry, West Munster, and at an early age was under the charge of bishop Ere, who placed him under St. Ita, whom he ever regarded as his spiritual mother. By her advice he attached himself to St. Jarlath. He was closely associated with Brendan of Birr, and, like him, was regarded as one of the second order of Irish saints and one of the twelve apostles of Ireland. Like St. Columba, he was a priest, and, like him also, was considered a prophet. That for which St. Brendan is most famous is the seven years' voyage in search of the Fortunate Islands, which Colgan (Acta Sanctorum, Ind. Chron.) says began in 545. Returning, he founded the monasteries of Clonfert (dated from 553 to 564) and Annadown, placing his sister Briga over the latter. It is said that he built many monasteries and cells through Ireland, where he had three thousand monks under him. He died in his sister's monastery, A.D. 577. Archdall says that he became bishop of Kerry, where he ended his days, and was buried at Cluenarca. St. Brendan had also a connection with Scotland. Fordun states that he erected a cell in Bute and lived in Scotland about 531. He had many dedications in that country, but another St. Brendan of a later date is imagined by Camerarius and Dempster.

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