Today’s Saint

Daily Journey with the Saints

May 16 | Navigation

Saint Brendan the Navigator

A.D. 484–577

There are a thousand paths you can walk in this life, but God has picked out a path just for you. He's designed a private road just for you. How do you discover it? Turns out, God has already given you exactly what you need.

Human beings come with a built-in navigation system. God has given us two incredible gifts that help us navigate the many paths of life.

The first is reason. We have the ability to think things through and plan the next right step. The second is conscience. It’s that quiet voice within you that's always guiding you towards what is good and away from what is bad.  

Reason and conscience, together with the Holy Spirit, make up the internal navigation system God gives us so that we can walk the one path He has in mind for us.

Saint Brendan used both of these tools in legendary ways to discover the path God has laid for him. In fact, he’s known today as “Saint Brendan the Navigator.”

Brendan spent his early years traveling around Ireland to learn from revered priests, monks, and nuns. His favorite teacher was Saint Ita (see January 15), who taught him to smile as much as possible, change wrongful behavior as soon as he became aware of it, and never rely on money.

Legend has it that when Brendan was in his forties, a monk told him about a mysterious place across the Atlantic called the “Isle of the Blessed.” Brendan was immediately fascinated. But before setting sail, he fasted for forty days to discern if this was the path God had planned for him. He emerged from this period of discernment sure that God was calling him to take a group of monks and sail to the Isle of the Blessed.

Together, they built a large boat and set sail. Scholars debate exactly where they went, but based on Brendan’s own writings, many believe that they first hit the Faroe Islands, then Iceland, then Greenland, and then finally Newfoundland (part of present-day Canada). 

The travels of Saint Brendan are steeped in legend, but they symbolize the journey we all have to make through life. If we navigate according to our reason and conscience, with insight from the Holy Spirit, we will find the path God made just for us.


I will seek the path God has picked out just for me.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Patron Saint of: Boatmen, Divers, Mariners, Sailors, Travellers, Whales, and Canoes

Also Known As: Saint Brendan 

Symbols: Whale

Feast Day: May 16

Feast Day Shared By: Saint Alexander and Saint Ubald

Image of mountain and man reflecting in the water below.

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