St. Brendan was a 6th-century monk who is known through the narrative of his Atlantic nautical travels (Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis). He set out with a group of fellow pilgrims in search of The Land Promised to the Saints. This voyage turns into a 7-year venture of encountering various islands, people, and adventures. Scholars are still debating whether the story of St. Brendan’s voyage documents a real journey or is a Christological allegory. Cynthia explores both these possibilities noting how the narrative describes actual geographical features as well as contains parallels with the classic interior spiritual journey.
Cynthia discusses how Brendan’s voyage may be seen as an archetype of not just the monastic vocation but also the human vocation of seeking union with the divine by bridging time and the timeless. In particular, she focuses on the key role of lectio divina and psalmody as practiced daily by St. Brendan and his fellow travelers. Through her teachings, we come to appreciate these two spiritual practices as “ancient vessels of transformation” that develop the “unitive imagination”. Cynthia presents these practices as “essential to approaching the Christian mystery” and relevant to today’s “new rising” in Christianity.
Recorded LIVE at Emmaus Retreat Centre in Dublin, Ireland in July 2014. Approximate running time: 5 hours, 1 minute. Credit and special thanks to New Monasticism Ireland and Eist Audio for their work on this production.
St. Brendan icon by Michael Galovic – used with permission of the artist.