Today is the feast of St Enda of Aran, patriarch of Irish monasticism. It was St Enda who formally introduced monasticism to Ireland by founding a monastery on the isle of Aran which became, in the words of St Columba, the "Sun of all the West".
Numberless saints known only to Our Lord lived and died on Aran; learning from that great monastic school all that was necessary to lead a holy life of virtue.
"Hearing how blessed Enda lived apart,
Amid the sacred caves of Ara-mhor,
And how beneath his eye, spread like a chart,
Lay all the isles of that remotest shore;
And how he had collected in his mind
All that was known to man of the Old Sea
I left the Hill of Miracles behind,
And sailed from out the shallow, sandy Leigh.
Oft, as we paced that marble-covered land,
Would blessed Enda tell me wondrous tales--
How, for the children of his love, the hand
Of the Omnipotent Father never fails--
How his own sister, standing by the side
Of the great sea, which bore no human bark,
Spread her light cloak upon the conscious tide,
And sailed thereon securely as an ark."
- Denis Florence McCarthy, 'The Voyage of St Brendan'