Martin Stanislaus Brennan

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The Reverend

Martin Stanislaus Brennan
Catholic Priest
Martin Stanislaus Brennan.jpg
Portrait of Martin Stanislaus Brennan, From the Year Book of the Old Cathedral Parish School, 1920
Personal details
Born23 July 1845
DiedOctober 3, 1927(1927-10-03) (aged 82)
Saint Louis, Missouri
BuriedCalvary Cemetery Saint Louis, Missouri
DenominationRoman Catholicism

Martin Stanislaus Brennan (July 23, 1845 – October 3, 1927) was an American Roman Catholic priest and scientist known for writing books about religion and science. Born in Ireland, he and his family immigrated to America when Brennan was young, settling in Saint Louis, Missouri.[1] His parents, William C. Brennan and Margaret Hackett, were from Tipperary, Ireland.[2][3] Some sources, though, say that Martin Brennan was born in Saint Louis.[2][3]


Brennan attended the Cathedral Parish School, which was the main Catholic parochial school at the time. Now known colloquially as the Old Cathedral, Brennan served as an altar server at this church and finished his grammar school education here as well.[4] Brennan graduated from Christian Brothers College in Saint Louis in 1865 with a bachelor's degree in arts, later receiving a master of arts in 1869,[2][5] and a Doctor of Science in 1896.[2] He studied theology at Saint Vincent's College, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and was ordained a Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis in 1869.[1] He became a professor of astronomy and geology at Kenrick Theological Seminary (now named Kenrick-Glennon Seminary) in Saint Louis in 1892.[1][2]


Brennan wrote several books about science and religion. "Electricity and It's Discoverer's" was used as a reference book in Saint Louis public schools.[1] Other published books include "Astronomy, Old and New",[1] "What Catholics Have Done for Science", "Science of the Bible",[1] and "God's Word in Nature"[5] Brennan was a nationally known astronomer and a frequent contributor to scientific and lay newspapers.[2][6] Known as an astronomer-priest, his studies of comets and sunspots were cited in contemporary newspapers.[7][8][9] He was best known as an astronomer, but also studied the Great Tornado of Saint Louis in 1896.[6] He delivered lectures on scientific topics to local audiences[1][5]

Brennan was a member of several scientific societies, including the British Astronomical Association, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the Astronomy and Astrophysical Society of America, the Saint Louis Academy of Science, the American Mathematical Society, and the National Geological Society.[1][5][6]

In addition to his work as a scientist, Brennan continued to work as a Catholic priest in Missouri. He served missions, in Hannibal, Missouri and Lebanon, Missouri, before moving back to Saint Louis. There, he first served as a priest in the Saint Louis Cathedral and, later, other churches in Saint Louis. Brennan served at Saint Lawrence O'Toole Parish from 1892-1910 before moving to Saints Mary and Joseph parish in January 1910.[2] He was designated a rector of Saint Thomas Aquinas Church and a monsignor in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis.[1][5][6] Pope Pius XI made Brennan a domestic prelate on May 27, 1923.[2]

Named "the most popular pastor in Saint Louis" by nearly a quarter of a million voters in a vote sponsored by the Saint Louis Republic newspaper, Brennan was invited to go on a speaking tour of Europe and Palestine in 1891. He addressed large audiences during his travels. On his return to Saint Louis, he discussed his travels, once to an audience as large as 6000.[1][10] Brennan died of natural causes at age 82 in Saint Louis, Missouri, and was interred at Calvary Cemetery in Saint Louis.[6]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Hyde, Willam, and Howard L. Conrad.History of Saint Louis.1. Saint Louis: The Southern History Company, 1899
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Brennan, Martin S."Who Was Who in America: A Companion Biographical Reference Work to Who's Who in America.Volume 2. 1950. Page 78. Print.
  3. ^ a b Faherty, William Barnaby. The St. Louis Irish: An Unmatched Celtic Community. Saint Louis: Missouri Historical Society Press, 2001. Page 110.Print.
  4. ^ 1920 Year Book of the Old Cathedral Parish School, 1920, Page 9. Print. Available in the Missouri History Museum Library and Archives.
  5. ^ a b c d e Leonard, John W.The Book of Saint Louisans.Saint Louis, Missouri,: The Saint Louis Republic, 1906. 78-9. Print
  6. ^ a b c d e New York Times 3 Oct 1927.Print."Mgr. Martin S. Brennan"."New York Times"
  7. ^ Saint Louis Republic, 1 March 1901, Print. "Father Brennan on New Star."Saint Louis Republic
  8. ^ Los Angeles Herald 19 May 1910, Volume 37, page 230.Print."Say Diamter of Sun Spots is 150,000 Miles".Los Angeles Herald
  9. ^ Guardian[Little Rock, Arkansas] 16 Dec 1916,7.Print. "Untitled".
  10. ^ Mosher, Warren."Rev. Martin S. Brennan." Mosher's Magazine. May-Sep. 1899: 71-71.Print.