Serendipity would be the wrong word but a helluva coincidence might sum it up rather well.

Here’s the story:

My mother’s family comes from the village in Ireland where St. Brendan the Navigator was born. Among other things, St. Brendan was the Irish Columbus inasmuch as he was the protagonist of their “we discovered America first” myth.

Brendan and his monk-companions set off from the west coast of Ireland in a curragh and they eventually, so the story goes, happened upon the new world. Along the way, they were aided by a whale (Iasconius) and they even managed to say a Mass or two on the beast’s back.

The Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis (The Voyage of St. Brendan the Abbot – the closest thing the Dark Ages had to a New York Times bestseller ) describes it thusly:

In the evening they again entered their boat with this man, and they soon discovered, in the usual place, the great whale, upon whose back they proceeded to sing the praises of the Lord all the night, and to say their Masses in the morning. When the Masses had concluded, Iasconius moved away, all of them being still on its back; and the brethren cried aloud to the Lord: ‘Hear us, O Lord, the God of our salvation.’ But St Brendan encouraged them: ‘Why are you alarmed? Fear not, for no evil shall befall us, as we have here only a helper on our journey.’



Ok, now the helluva coincidence part: Descending as I do from the same stock as St. Brendan with the requisite love of the sea and the inexplicable fascination with traditional Catholicism, fate (providence?) saw to it that I entered the world in a little blue state that was once the capital of the American whaling industry.

Well, alright, maybe I’m grasping here but try to work with me on this…

Anyway, Sancte Brendane, ora pro nobis.

Oh yeah, everything else remains the same. Libertarian-right; love the Red Sox; miss Nomar; hate Bush, taxes, government spending (ok, I hate government anything), the Iraq war, most New Yorkers, etc.


4 Responses to “About Iasconius”

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