Brendan's Island  

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Brendan's Island Visitor Information Center

  Brendan's Island Guest BookI'd like to know what you think about the Brendan's Island web site.

Please leave your comments in this public guest book and share your thoughts with other visitors.

New comments have not been possible with this guest book since July 2, 2007. Too much spam has been coming through, and I am no longer able to shovel through the gravel to get at the nuggets of your comments.

On July 6, 2007, I tried an alternative method: unsuccessfully.

Please be patient. I hope, at some time in the future, to have a working guest book available for you.

If you want a name or nickname to appear with your comment, please type it in the box, with your comment.

Your Comments

Contacting me

If you have something to tell or ask me, and a Google Plus account: that's here I spend most of my online time. (Brian Gill)

Thanks! Brian H. Gill, webmaster



Here's What You've Said:

12 May 2007 11:03 PM [Central time, USA]

Hi My Name Is  i v a h j s.

[I trust that this was the comment you intended to leave. Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

31 December 2006 9:02 PM [Central time, USA]

I found your site oddly enough by searching for plans to finish our attic space. My husband is planning to make me a dream closet.
Your website was so refreshing I just had to sign your guest book. I grew up spending many summers in Minnesota on lake Vermilion and have alot of fond memories.
[Take care, Margie Huesing]

[Thanks! It's "refreshing" to get messages like this. Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

[6 November 2006. A word from the webmaster: Once again, I'm catching up on guestbook entries. Thank you for your patience. Between a layoff and surgery, this has been an eventful year for me. A few details are in the Sauk Centre Journal. Thanks to everyone who has helped me and my family, by word and deed! Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

16 November 2006 1:44 PM [Central time, USA]

This site has pretty dang long web pages

[Thanks for the observation. The Sauk Centre Journal archive pages are particularly long, and there are other pages that take a lot of loading and scrolling. has a sort of remodeling project in the works, so I am particularly glad to get input about what it's like to visit the site. Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

[6 November 2006. A word from the webmaster: Once again, I'm catching up on guestbook entries. Thank you for your patience. Between a layoff and surgery, this has been an eventful year for me. A few details are in the Sauk Centre Journal. Thanks to everyone who has helped me and my family, by word and deed! Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

4 November 2006 9:25 AM [Central time, USA]

Thanks for standing up for "small town life"! I found your site looking for someone else who shares my feelings. I live in Lexington, VA, a small historic town, nestled in the Shenandoah Valley. It's beautiful! After living all over the world with my military husband....this is the place where I can breath. People are so polite that they don't honk their horns at stop lights. Last year there was a car parked on Main Street with New Jersey plates. The driver had parked and was enjoying our little shops or restaurants and had left his "Club", car security device on the steering wheel. People were walking by and stopping to look in his window, laughing!
[Nancy Suthard]

[Thanks for sharing the "Club" story.

One of my favorites about city folks happened several years ago. Someone from a federal agency had called someone in the business where I worked, probably because we were the only place he knew of in Minnesota. He was flying in from the east coast, headed from Bemidji, and his flight ended in the Twin Cities. He wanted to know if roads extended all the way to Bemidji, or if he'd have to find an all-terrain vehicle. Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

11 October 2006 8:57 PM [Central time, USA]

First of all, I hope your surgery went well. When you have a chance, I was wondering what the story is of the picture of the 2 mail boxes way up high above a regular mail box. Are they bird houses? Are they in the Sauk Centre area? I may just want to see them when I get to Sauk. I hope you have a speedy recovery.
[Linda Utesch ]

[The high-rise mailboxes are on what I call the "cemetery road" which connects the three cemeteries east of town. The lowest one is, as far as I can tell, an actual mailbox serving the farmstead across the road. The others may be birdhouses, either by design or by avian conquest. They're south of the southernmost cemetery. I haven't learned why they were put up, but suspect that someone living there has a good sense of humor.

Oh, yes: the surgery went well. I'm looking forward to going back for more later this year. Thanks for your good wishes. Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

31 July 2006 4:38: PM [Central time, USA]

I like it alot!

31 July 2006 12:48 PM [Central time, USA]

Brendan's Island, though not the olde sod, is a fine place to go. Thank you for your efforts.
[Edward McAteer]

[29 June 2006. A word from the webmaster: Oops! Between some exciting job-related transitions, including being laid off, and a surgical procedure on the hand that didn't get fixed earlier this year, I've been a little preoccupied. I'm very sorry to say that two entries for the guest book didn't get posted when they should have. That's been taken care of now, and I now hope to keep up to date on this sort of thing. I've mentioned the less boring parts of my experiences in the Sauk Centre Journal. Brian H. Gill]

18 June 06 5:13 [Central time, USA]

Nice site!

[Thanks! Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

16 June 2006 11:39 [Central time, USA]

I read that this week will your last week at work. I hope you'll find another job soon.

[I hope so, too. In the meantime, I'm working on some improvements for Brendan's Island, and a few new features. Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

19 May 2006 9:24 PM [Central time, USA]

You often mention your "day job." May I ask what your day job is?
[Linda Utesch]

[I've been working at Vocational Biographies since 1986, Right now I'm their list manager, 'computer guy. and webmaster. Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

18 May 2006 9:34 PM [Central time, USA]

I'm sorry that you're losing your job this coming summer. I will pray for a brighter future to go your way.

[Thank you! It will be interesting to see what happens next. Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

28 April 2006 5:55 PM [Central time, USA]
What do you think about the Super Walmart in Sauk Centre MN?

[Having a large national chain store on the south side of town will certainly make a difference in Sauk Centre. However, since I've spent most of my life in places bigger than this town, a new business moving in doesn't seem so odd.

I'm not at all sure that a Wal-Mart in town will be disastrous. I haven't seen Alexandria become blighted after Wal-Mart, Target, and other ‘big box. stores moved in.

Here in Sauk Centre, I doubt that the department store in town, Meads, will lose many customers. They seem to cater to a clientele which is unlikely to be interested in Wal-Mart's more plebeian stock.

Winter's Main Street Drug will be easier for folks here to get to than a pharmacy at the other side of a Wal-Mart parking lot, and is the sort of neighborhood drug store that a chain pharmacy can't be.

Schaefer's Market is a small-town grocery with service and convenience that I doubt a chain store could offer. As far as Wal-Mart's effect on the other grocery in town goes, I wouldn't mind if Coborns had some competition for the supermarket shoppers.

And, my wife and I would really appreciate not having to drive to Alex to get all those items that we'd love do buy in town, but that aren't available here.

Having a nationally-known chain store in town might even help some businesses. All those people coming off I-94 to shop at Wal-Mart may want to eat, get gas, or pick up something on their way out that they didn't find at the ‘big box. store. I talked about Wal-Mart with someone involved in running one of the convenience stores in town. That person hoped the ‘big box. store would come. With a Wal-Mart in town, I was told, we'd have more traffic: and some of the visitors would come to the convenience store's parking lot.

Mostly, though, I think that we'll find out what happens, when it happens.. Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

12 April 2006 8:37 AM [Central time, USA]
brendan here, if you look closely at old nautical charts of the west coast of scotland you will find BRENDAN'S ISLE just north by north east of the isle of luing. just south of a small island used as a retreat by st columbus himself. allegedly the burial place of his parents.

[Thanks for sharing your knowledge of Scotland's shores. Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

10 April 7:11 PM [Central time, USA]
I just wanted to tell you that I enjoy this web site very much. I grew up on a farm 6 miles south of Sauk Centre. I moved to Rochester, Mn. in 1972 & have been there ever since. I still go to Sauk Centre, about every 4-6 weeks, to see my dad, who lives in the new assisted living center. It is very interesting to read what has been going on there. I call dad & read to him what you have written. He is almost completely blind so cannot read the Herald. So, he too enjoys what you have to say. Keep up the good work.
Linda Utesch

[Thank you! Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

30 March 2006 9:10 PM [Central time, USA]
I was born in Birr (1933) but did not realise there were at least 2 St. Brendans until recently. The school, Catholic & Church of Ireland were all named after him. Good to read your writeup.
Regards ~~ Brendan Smyth, Quispamsis, New Brunswick, Canada

[Thanks for sharing your knowledge of names in Birr. Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

8 March 2006 7:04 AM [Central time, USA]
my name is brendan
[anonymous - aside from the given name]

16 February 2006 11:39:10 AM [Central time, USA]
hey i like these liddle comment voxes

12 January 2006 3:57 PM [Central time, USA]
you stink

21 December 2005 7:30 AM [Central time, USA]
I read about this site in the BRAINERD DISPATCH this morning, as written by Mackenzie Ryan of the ST. CLOUD TIMES, so checked it out. I look forward to visiting your site again.

Of course those of us that care about small town Minnesota, always recall how Sinclair Lewis put Sauk Center "on the map" years ago. Keep up the good work.

[I hope you enjoy return visits to Brendan's Island. (The Sauk Centre Journal is updated twice a week.) Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

12 December 2005 2:36 AM [Central time, USA]
Hi Brian,

Cool website! I just stumbled on it while googling Sauk Centre.

I agree with you that Sauk Centre is a great place to live. I grew up in Sauk but then moved away when I went to college in Crookston. Since then, I have worked for the past quarter century at Honeywell in Minneapolis. I purchased a cabin on Big Birch Lake about 10 years ago and have been wanting to make the permanent move to there ever since. I finally decided to do it and am moving up there on Dec. 30th! Even though I am a bit closer to Melrose than Sauk, I consider Sauk to be my town. I much prefer the pace of the smaller town to the high-stress, corporate environment that I've grown to detest. The stress was actually affecting my health and that was the final straw to allow me to make the decision to move.

Small town boy come full circle I guess! Keep up the good work!

[Welcome back, and thanks! Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

30 November 2005 10:18 AM [Central time, USA]
I enjoyed visiting your site. The article about you and the site was printed in the The Forum, Fargo, ND. My family has exited the interstate highway and explored Sauk Centre. I especially liked the Sinclair Lewis house and museum.

[Thanks for sharing where you read about Brendan's Island. Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

20 November 2005 2:42 PM [Central time, USA]
The article about your site from the St Cloud Times was reprinted today in the Bemidji Pioneer. I am enjoying reading about your town and your thoughts.

[I'm glad you're enjoying it. If you haven't seen it yet, you might be interested in the Sauk Centre Journal page. Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

17 October 2005 7:19 PM [Central time, USA]
I LIKE your website. So glad you had an article in the Times so we could enjoy your Island. We used to know a family named Gill that farmed near Milaca. Are you related? Thanks also for your current pics. I'll be back to visit here often.
[Jo from SC]

[Thanks for the good words. Sorry: I'm not related to the Gill families in Central Minnesota. Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

16 October 2005 5:04 PM [Central time, USA]
I read about your website in today's St. Cloud Times. I was anxious to check it out since I grew up in Sauk Centre. What a great site! I'll be visiting often! Thank you!

[You're welcome! Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

16 October 2005 10:51:40 AM [Central time, USA]
Just finished reading the St. Cloud Times in which your web site is profiled. I grew up in Sauk Centre - graduated in '66. I'm glad that you're happy & content in 'Sauk'. It wasn't a pleasant experience for me for various reasons which I won't dwell on here.

I remember the 'Ding Dong Cafe. when it consisted of 3-4 small booths, a counter & not much else. I went there for the amazing varieties of penny candy. As an avid reader, I too sorely regretted the lack of book stores. J.C. Penny had little in the way of stylish clothes, so we drove to St. Cloud to shop at least twice a month. My "hang-out" was the 'Theatre Cafe. located across the street from the Main Street Theatre. (Not a 6-plex then.)

My best memory is of hot summer days swimming in Sauk Lake and playing in the park. Back then, Sauk Lake wasn't weedy & polluted. All the town kids swam there. I think it was around '61or62 when the lake became so polluted that swimming was no longer allowed. Then, kids whose parents had the time & means - drove to 'Fairy Lake. to swim.

Another great memory is of going ice skating at the rink. The best part of the skating experience was "walking the ledge" to get there! If you weren't careful, you'd slide down 50 ft. - dangerously near the water under the bridge!

Our Lady of the Angels Church (where I attended) was the "Irish church". St. Paul's was the "German Church" - according to Sauk Centreites who "knew" such things.

There was daily Greyhound Bus service based out of the 'Waldorf Cafe'.

In high school, my circle of friends went to the 'New Munich Ballroom. on Fri. nights. (It burned down some years ago.) Some really decent/talented rock bands were booked...not local polka bands. The 'Hi Ho Cafe. was after I moved away (one day after graduation). Places to go for good food were the '52 Club, Theatre Cafe & Diamond Point.

There was no Burger King or Arbys or videos or computers or book stores. For me, Sauk Centre was oppressive and depressing. However, I do have a few good memories and I will continue to visit your web site to indulge my occasional nostalgia.
[Class of 66]

[Thank you for sharing your experiences! Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

7 October 2005 12:28 PM [Central time, USA]
Nicely done old chap. An altogether well put-together URL. I pray may the Divine Chaplet find its way from your URL into as many a needy heart as free will can possibly allow.
[Yours in Christ, Mark Northeast, PhD Researcher, UCLan, UK]

[Thank you! Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

23 July 2005 11:31 PM [Central time, USA]
I found your site while searching for a good rendering of a 2 masted clannagh to use as a desktop wallpaper... very enjoyable! Now my search continues...
[Brendan Hanley, West Allis, WI]

[I hope you found your wallpaper, and thanks for the good words. Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

23 June 2005 7:03 PM [Central time, USA]
Hi, I wasn't going to write, but when I saw Sauk Centre, MN I changed my mind! I'm from Rochester MN and often visited friends in Mpls. and Fargo so you know how often we bowed to Sauk Centre before I-94 took over. My friend wanted a prayer to St. Brendan, but I really didn't find one. Did you ever know any Cullens in St. Cloud? or at St. John's? They're close kin. I enjoyed your website very much.
[Mary Cullen] [e-mail address withheld by webmaster]

[I don't know any Cullens in this area, I'm afraid. I'm glad you enjoyed this website! Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

21 June 2005 5:21 PM [Central time, USA]
I love your short stories and hope that you post more some time soon. So far my favorite is The Village, The Fence, and the Sign.

[Thank you! Brian H. Gill, Webmaster, Brendan's Island.]

8 May, 2005 9:36 AM [Central time, USA]
Thank you for your website! We just purchased a home in Sauk Centre and your site provided us with some very useful info. Probably see you in town!

[You're welcome, and welcome to Sauk Centre! I hope you enjoy living here as much as I do. (Brian H. Gill, webmaster)]

27 April, 2005 7:51 PM [Central time, USA]
i am named after him i wish to know more

[You'll find a little more about Brendan the Navigator at A Monk, A Boat, and a Legend, on this website. (Brian H. Gill, webmaster)]

13 April, 2005 11:16 PM [Central time, USA]
yeah my name is Brendan, so this site most definitely rocks. rock on Brian. Peace.

3 April, 2005 4:23 PM [Central time, USA]
i want to know what ur town has in common with brendean as he is buried in clonfert galway eire and why u are writin about him as he is an irish saint u should be talkin about clonfert cathderal and it's suroundings brendan's island is'nt much of a cause u know he's our saint thats why he's in our land

[Briefly, Sauk Centre has nothing to do with St Brendan the Navigator. I called this website ‘Brendan's Island. because like Brendan's Island, it is a fine place: and because North America is, in fact, the fabled ‘Brendan's Island.. I say a little more about why I chose this name in the Visitor's Information Center. Finally, I wrote about St. Brendan because I like the tales that come to us of his voyage, and because about half my ancestors are Irish.]

18 March 2005 9:27 PM [Central time, USA]
Dear Brian,
I stumbled upon your web site as I was researching St. Faustina Kowalska and Divine Mercy Sunday. I am a wife and mother of seven children and I teach 8th grade CCD...I really enjoyed your web site and its cleverness! I thank you for using your time, talent and humor to glorify God!
[Lisa H. (Wilmington,DE)]

6 March 2005 6:33 PM [Central time, USA]
It sounds like you have a great place. I am still trying to find where it is - but the best that I can say is that it is "in heaven."

I will have to come back later...
[Bohdan Kernytsky] [e-mail address withheld by webmaster]

[Sauk Centre is almost in the center of the state of Minnesota, halfway between the Twin Cities and Fargo, North Dakota. I think heaven is actually a great deal more pleasant than this place, but this small town is a great place to live. Thanks for your comments! (Brian H. Gill, webmaster)]

28 February 2005 1:42 PM [Central time, USA]
Hello, My name is Amanda Gruber. I don't know if you recognize the name or not, but I was Miss Sauk Centre 2003, and I stumbled across this website by accident. I LOVE IT! I graduated in May of '04 from Sauk Centre Senior High and I now live in Fargo ND. You are very much right about the assumptions that people make about small towns and the people that come from them. I know that when I'm done with college, I definitely want to raise my children in Sauk Centre (or a town just like it). It is beautiful, small, but not too small, and perfect. Well, I just wanted to drop a note to say, keep up the good work; we need more people like you to tell the small town life like it really is. Thank you!
[Amanda Gruber 'Miss Sauk Centre '03']

[Thank you for your enthusiastic endorsement of this website! (Brian H. Gill, webmaster)]

18 February 2005 7:09 AM [Central time, USA]
This site is great. I found it just digging around and love it. As a fellow Minnesota boy, this site does our state proud. Thanks.
[no name]

30 December 2004 7:12 PM [Central time, USA]
Hi. My name is Mr.Gerald Aylward. I have grown up on St. Brendans Island. It has been a terrific place for me and i would not have wanted to have grown up anywhere else. I wish that this island would last forever but with the lack of fish and other resources for living, people are forced to move elsewhere. Maybe something might happen to protect St. Brendans, but if not i will always remember the laughter and glory it brought to me as i grew up. From when i was just a kid tell i moved away with my loving fiancee Heather O'Rielly. St. Brendan's will always be in my heart.
[Mr.Gerald Aylward]

[Thank you very much for sharing your experiences. May St. Brendan's stay in your heart, and may you find blessings where you are, as well. (Brian H. Gill, webmaster)]

11 November 2004 3:20 PM [Central time, USA]
is it Brenden or Brendan? Good information. It had a lot of stuff I needed for my project.
[Chibi rin]

["Brendan" is the spelling I've run into most often, and I believe it is the accepted spelling for St. Brendan's name. "Brenden" has been used as a personal name, however. I'm glad the article on St. Brendan was useful. Sorry about taking so long to attend to this entry. The last few weeks have been very hectic for me, here in Sauk Centre. (Brian H. Gill, webmaster)]

21 October 2004 3:20 PM [Central time, USA]
Hi Brian! I just stumbled onto your wonderful website. It really sums up what I have been feeling about this "hidden treasure" we call home!! Thanks for your beautiful site! My family and I have only lived in Sauk Centre for 6 mos now (St. Cloud natives a.k.a. "big city folk :), but we fell in love with this town for several reasons. My husband was offered a job in Alex and we had our pick of towns we could move to, BUT I knew in my heart from the first visit here that this was the place I wanted to raise my family! (love at first sight? LOL!) We specifically moved here for
#1 the awesome Catholic Churches and powerful perpetual adoration chapel
#2 the strong Catholic school and #3 the charm and quaintness of this darling all-encompassing town. A sense of serenity and completeness has been washing over me these past months and I just wanted to share and join in on your enthusiasm of this great town! We can't wait to raise our young family here with all the good values and morals that small town life affords especially here! Gotta LOVE that Divine Mercy!!!!)
I still chuckle when everyone says hi at the grocery store or when the elderly man bagging my groceries chucks my kids under the chins and ruffles their hair with a friendly hello. Money just can't buy the genuineness this town has to offer. Does that sound crazy? :) Take care and also thanks for putting in an uplink for the Voters Guide by the Knights of Columbus. Fighting the Good Fight as always!! God's blessing be upon you and your site!
PS Maybe we'll bump into each other on a walk someday or the library. My kids and I love to walk and enjoy each "personality" of the interesting old homes. They each tell a story and feel like old friends on my walks!
[Sarah Grant]

[Genuineness? That doesn't sound crazy at all! I'll admit that I am biased, though. (Brian H. Gill, webmaster)]

15 October 2004 7:10 PM [Central time, USA]
Brian, I grew up in Sauk Centre and enjoyed looking at the photos that reminded me of the places I went as a child and the changes that have occurred since I left in 1969. I plan to re-visit to see future photos - Thanks for the memories, Keep the love of Sauk Centre you have in your heart,
[Jan Hooper]

[Thank you! I will try. (Brian H. Gill, webmaster)]

5 September 2004 9:58 AM [Central time, USA]
I am going to be the owner of a little trailerable 15 foot West Wight Potter sail boat soon. I love St. Brendan and wondered if you have ever found of the name of his boat? If I can't find the name, maybe they didn't name boats then, I will call my new boat St. Brendan. I retire in three years and I just might come for a look at Brendan's Island.
[Rena Brescia]

[Sorry, I haven't run across the name of St. Brendan's Boat. Naming it the St. Brendan sounds like a fine idea to me. By the way, although the navigable waters of Minnesota lake country are well worth the visit, I do not believe that you will find a place officially called Brendan's Island here. You might be interested in reading why I called this website "Brendan's Island," in the Visitor's Information Center. (Brian H. Gill, webmaster)]

26 August 2004 9:24 PM [Central time, USA]
Hi! I just thought I would write even though I have no idea what this page is about!!! Its just that my name is also naomi gill!!!
[naomi gill]

15 August 2004 10:42 PM [Central time, USA]
I love the name Brendan and named my son Brendan. Now he is four and all he talks about is a mythical land called "Central Island". After reading your site I have more insight.
[no name]

11 August 2004 11:11 AM [Central time, USA]
hello to Brennains island, i am writing to you from near brennain place of birth. i just found your site and had to write you a mail.. very interesting about the link to spain and the canaries. here another one for you ( dont know if you have heard it before) discovered when i was in germany last year, you can take from it what you will... some people in lower germany had a fanasation with him and name their town after him , brandenberg. then of course this name became assoatiated with the area and of course the brandenburg tor (gate) hope this is of intrest to you
[slán, keith]

4 July 2004 6:10 PM [Central time, USA]
One reference to St. Brendan's voyage mentions a sea creature with large eyes "like glass" that did battle with a whale. Sounds very much like it could have been a giant squid not unknown in these North Atlantic waters; A large dead giant squid specimen is preserved at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John's. Also it is recorded that whales bearing the roundish marks of squid 'suckers. on their skins have been noted during the last 100 years. Just a further comment that seems to reinforce Brendan's voyage; which probably, in my opinion included the island of Newfoundland. [Terry Torbay Newfoundland, Canada. July 4th 2004]

[Thank you! I added this message to this website's page on St. Brendan, A Monk, a Boat, And a Legend. (Brian H. Gill, webmaster)]

1 May 2004 2:49 PM [Central time, USA]
OMNI Games recently opened in Fargo at 4325 13 Ave SW. Across the street from the TJ Maxx Plaza in Fargo. OMNI is still alive and kicking. If anyone can be called the comeback kids- it'll be OMNI and I think we'll do it. Thank you for your support- Please update your website on the change of events. No vacation for Lenny but he's already in heaven with this new store. Take care [Lenny]

[Very good news! I've updated OMNI Hobby's entry on In Praise Of, on Brendan's Island. (Brian H. Gill, webmaster)]

22 Apr 2004 7:08 PM [Central time, USA]
Hello Brian, how are you? Please pray for a girl named Marie. She washes hair at the beauty parlour where I get my hair done. I lived in New York. Her clothes caught on fire and she has burns on alot of her body. Please pray for her healing. Thanks you so much Brian. God Bless you,

[Thank you, for giving me and my family this opportunity to pray for another. (Brian H. Gill, webmaster)]

26 Mar 2004 7:25 AM [Central time, USA]
Just want to say.. This is very good. I enjoy very much.

[Thank you!
(Normally, input from the Contact page isn't intended for the guest book. However, this was the only way I had of acknowledging your message, JGS. There was not a complete address, including a domain name, in the message as it was received.) (Brian H. Gill, webmaster)]

25 Mar 2004 1:59 PM [Central time, USA]
why are you angry about Minnesota Morris. Is it because that's all there is to see in Sauk Centre?

[This is most probably a response to a photo in "Attack of the Amateur Photo Album." The caption reads, "One thing is certain about the University of Minnesota, Morris: They have good self-esteem. This sign has been celebrating the institution since the summer of 2002, and through March 2004."

I'm not sure how that indicates anger, but perhaps I need to clarify my position. My reaction to the sign is one of amusement. The sign proclaims the University of Minnesota, Morris, to be "America's Best Public Liberal Arts College." For all I know, they are. I've been to the U of M, Morris, campus several times, and was impressed. However, I still think of hubris, or what was popularized as "self-esteem," when seeing a claim that. (Brian H. Gill, webmaster)]

14 Feb 2004 3:34 PM [Central time, USA]
Again got a laugh and a patriotic boost from your "An American Family"

11 Feb 2004 2:10 AM [Central time, USA]
Thanks for a very instructive and interesting webpage. I live outside Stockholm, Sweden. I just want to add that in one of the old churches here from the 13th C., in Taby, you can find a painting of St Brendan, standing on a sea monster, among something that looks like food.
Sten Wiksten

31 Jan 2004 10:07 AM [Central time, USA]
Dad, I know I can contact you through email, but I thought your readers might want to note this, too. The sentence, "The National Weather Service in the Twin Cities issued a wind chill advisory that ended with some helpful and a bit of advice:" should be corrected to, "The National Weather Service in the Twin Cities issued a wind chill advisory that ended with some helpful and a bit obvious advice:"
numba-one daughter (in Ireland)

[When she's right, she's right! I've corrected the January 28, 2004 entry of Sauk Centre This Season.
(Brian H. Gill, webmaster)]

29 Sep 2003 4:58 AM [Central time, USA]
Really enjoyed having a look at your photos. I stumbled across your site while looking for photos of Minnesota landscape as I have an email pal in Minnesota and I thought it would be nice to see what the countryside looked like over there. Very nice, especially autumn (fall).
(Regards Jen from New Zealand)

[Thank you! (Brian H. Gill, webmaster)]

6 Sep 2003 5:46 PM [Central time, USA]
Congratulations for your excellent Brendan´s webpage, Brian!

I live in a town called Avilés in the region of Asturias on the northern coast of Spain. Avilés was an important harbour in the Middle Ages and there was a trade link with English ports such as Hastings, Sandwich, Hythe, etc.

We happen to have a small beach near the entrance of our estuary called San Balandrán. I think it is a corruption of St Brendan or Brandan because the same happens with other place names referring to this Irish saint on the Canary Islands. A well- known legend on those islands refers to a "flying island" or "ghost island" known as Island of San Borondón or San Balandrán and in Tenerife there is a shrine devoted to this saint called the same way, too.

As far as I know there is no evidence of St Brendan or his disciples traveling to northern Spain. Nevertheless, this place name of ours is quite amazing and I wonder if you could tell me anything about any likely voyage of St Brendan to Avilés.

Once again congratulations for your fine page.
(F. Javier Gago)

[I am not an authority on St. Brendan, and so can't say much about a voyage of St. Brendan to Avilés. I intend to check some sources I have, and will see what I can learn.

Just a word about medieval and ancient travel: During the twentieth century, conventional wisdom got a reality check about what people in the middle ages and ancient times could do. Thanks in part to Timothy Severin's voyages, the possibility that folks in pre-Renaissance history made sea voyages can be taken seriously. St. Brendan was one of the Irish monks, people who routinely voyaged to continental Europe in what many still insist on calling the "Dark Ages." A voyage to Avilés seems perfectly possible, even routine. In fact, the northern coast of Spain seems much more easy to reach than some parts of Europe where Irish monks are known to have gone: Rome, for example.]

22 Aug 2003 8:22 AM
I have been visiting your site off and on for some time now. I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your observations. I live and work in Sauk Centre and in the hustle and bustle forget to look around sometimes. Thank you.
(Karin Tank)

13 Aug 2003 2:51 PM
I enjoyed you rendition of St. Brendan. voyage. I noted that you alude to a diferent name spelling. Can you provide information on the spelling of the Name "Brennain". The "Book of Lismor" spells it "Brenainn". Is it likely that the spelling ,like the story, has been altered through the years?

[I've found that the saint's name is more often spelled Brenainn, just as you pointed out. And the Book of Lismor is one of the places where it is spelled so. As to where I came up with Brennain? I looked for my notes on that matter, and alas! They seem to have gotten put in some unusually secure spot: so safe that not even I can find them. When I find them, I'll see what I can about just where it was I found that spelling.

Now, as to the question you posed. Certainly! Not just the spelling - more of that later - but the name itself has surely changed. And thank you for bringing up an interesting point!

Sure, look at the name Sean now, just as an example. It's a fine name, and one that has been around for a few millennia. Well, all that time has taken it to many lands. In the lands where my immediate ancestors made their abode, the name came to be called Sean, Ian, Iain, John, Jan, Jens, or Hans. A bit farther to the east than I can trace my family's roots, and the name found itself to be Ivan. And so it has been with Mirit or Miriam, Maria, Maren, and all the other variations of the name that found its way into English as Mary.

And spelling? Well, first, remember that even today we don't have completely standardized spelling, even in our own language. and further, although the alphabets of western Europe are derived from Latin, each has been adapted to its own language. And further yet, when St. Brendan was among us, English didn't exist yet. And so, the name has come to us through many centuries and several languages.

In short, I believe that it would be remarkable if a name or a word had not changed, and more than somewhat, as a millennia and a half passed, and it traveled across thousands of miles of ocean and one or two different languages. I've gone on at some length: but I'll lay some small part of the credit for that to those of my ancestors who lived and sang in the Emerald Isle. (Brian H. Gill, webmaster)]

26 May 2003 7:09 PM
Today I was at a book sale at my church. They were selling old National Geographic Magazines. I was so excited because in the box was the Dec 1977 issues which is all about St. Brendan the re-enactment of his voyage!!!

24 May 2003 9:24 AM
I enjoyed reading what you have written on this site. My son's name is Brendan. He was born on June 6th 1997. This year he had the opportunity to dress up like St. Brendan. We made the boat out of paper mache. He really looked great. I hope when he gets older he will read the stories of St. Brendan.

21 Apr 2003 11:23 AM
About St. Brendan. I just had a dream about this plaque in an old church. It said something about a saint and whales. I had never known about Brendan or his connection to them. I'm not even catholic. This bothers me. Just thought I should share. [e-mail address withheld by webmaster]

18 Apr 2003 9:37 PM
Busy-busy-busy! But this time I read more of your site than during previous visits. It was time well spent. Thanks.

10 Apr 2003 12:29 PM
I'm not a web surfer, but in looking for Small Town Life Magazine, I found your listing...and it has made my day.

Here in southwestern PA, where the sun is struggling today to break through a leaden layer of clouds and "green things" are struggling to break through some still frozen patches of soil, I needed a "respite"...a Caribbean cruise, as I call my hookey moments, and you provided that for me.

Thank you...and keep writing. I will definitely keep checking on you in your attic. Blessings by the bushel,
(Nancy A. Clark)

14 Mar 2003 9:54 PM
I was trying to explain the name to my wife and thought I'd have a go at the web, your page did a nice job. Cheers!
(Brendan Glass)

22 Feb 2003 8:19 PM
Interesting, as always. Best wishes,

22 Jan 2003 7:10 PM
I'm a high school student in Sauk Centre. I was looking for the school web page that one of my friends is working on, and I found your page. It's great! I loved to hear a positive view of Sauk Centre! I may even come back again. Awesome!

18 Jan 2003 8:53 AM
I really enjoy your website. I live in Pennsylvania and have a married daughter living in Sauk Centre. It helps me feel connected to the area and somehow to her to read your journal. I also find the information very helpful and interesting when we plan trips to Sauk. Thanks a bunch!

14 Nov 2002 7:02 PM
Yo! Improving all the time. Thanks for the work.
[Offline communication revealed that this refers to a story in Brian's Attic, Wilbert & Grunt.]

25 Oct 2002 2:46 AM
I saw a program on the Discovery Channel about St. Brendan the Navigator and went to the web to find out more. This is a great site! Thanks for all your info!
(Sharon (currently in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia))

21 Oct 2002 3:48 PM
Now, and would you be putting your thoughts on one of those talking DVD things, that we could be hearing the lilt of your voice, telling the tale of blessed St. Brendan?

I'm doing research on Brendan for a college history class (Eastern Oregon University, on-line) and came across your wonderful tale. I've been fascinated with Brendan since I read the Nat Geographic article years ago. If you have an idea where to find said article, I would appreciate it!

Ta, and t'anks for a lovely time
(Sharon in eastern Oregon, (where I think the high Cascades are much lovelier than central Minnesota, but being on a lake island has to be wonderful))

[Brendan's Island will remain silent for the time being. Now, articles about St. Brendan, there's a fine idea: which may find itself on A Monk, a Boat and a Legend, when I find the time. (B. H. Gill, Webmaster)]

13 Oct 2002 9:24 PM
where the heck is st brendans island?!

[One St. Brendan's Island is a tiny but picturesque community called "St. Brendan's Island" on the Kittiwake Coast on The Island of Newfoundland. Once called Shoals Cove, it has a population of about 260, and lies on Cottel's Island in central Bonavista Bay. The Island of Newfoundland, of course, is that big island east of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Another is the legendary St. Brendan's Island is off somewhere in the Atlantic: but it doesn't exist, except in the imagination.

This Web site is called Brendan's Island because to me, the lands of central Minnesota are as wondrous as the fantastic realm described in the Navigatio Brendani. There's more about why I call this site Brendan's Island at the Visitor Information Center. (B. H. Gill, Webmaster)]

24 Sep 2002 8:51 PM
Your website jogged some pleasant memories. I'd like to share a story with you. My dad took the family up to Sauk Lake 2 or 3 times every summer while I was growing up. My dad was raised on the farm and when he moved to the big city he met his best friend who had a cabin on the lake. His friend, "Doc Dolly" (who was a retired doctor), died 30 years ago when I was a small child and I just barely remember him. My dad really loved fishing on Sauk Lake and spending time with the Doc though. 4 years ago my dad sold some land for a profit and decided to buy his own cabin on Sauk Lake. He didn't want to spend all of his money and he told the realtor so. So the realtor went into the proverbial "I've got just the thing for you!" spiel and made an appointment for him to see a small cabin on the north side of the lake. Can you guess? Of course by wild coincidence the folks that had bought that cabin from Dolly's widow so many years ago sold it to the Doc's best friend :). The first day I came up there my dad pointed at a porch chair and said "do you remember when you fell off that and landed on your head?". Ha!

13 Jun 2002 2:46 PM
Nice work, Brian. I am writing a story wherein one character is obsessed with Brendan and his journey. Trying to do as much research as possible on his story. Thanks! Best regards,

24 Apr 2002 9:32 AM
Checked out "Life in a small town" site. I wish you small-town geeks all the best.

[eieio refers to a page on the Life in a Small Town site, where a copy of I Love It Here! is now published.]

15 Apr 2002 1:22 PM
Just on one of my many surfing safarii's. Researching stories and stuff. Your site is a great find. Thank you ---

27 Mar 2002 5:26 PM
Beautiful --- Thank you!

22 Mar 2002 6:46 AM
"The way the will be was" -- ? Now: let me think...

22 Mar 2002 6:33 AM
326?! A few days ago the figure was 93. Egad! Word-of-mouth [cyber-electro-Web style] must be at work.

3 Mar 2002 10:36 AM
Nice additions, Dad. Keep it up.
(Brian's eldest daughter)

4 Feb 2002 9:32 PM
Content here I've not run across before. Interesting. Keep up the good work. (I shall assume that you are not "just making this up".)

27 Oct 2001 3:37 PM

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You can send me a message on the contact page.
Brian H. Gill, webmaster

Brendan's Island home page
I Love It Here! (life in a small town) | A Walk on the Catholic Side
Brian's Attic | Attack of the Amateur Photo Album
Brendan: A Monk, A Boat And a Legend
Brendan's Island Guest Book | Visitor Information Center

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