Biography of Saint David
There are actually two St. David's, one from Scotland one from Wales. When you Google St. David, St. David of Wales is the first you see so I am going to concentrate on St. David of Wales.
Obviously, owing to his date of birth, which is sometime in the year 500, there is more tradition and folklore about St. David than actual fact. Most of the writings that have been found seem to come from an eleventh century monk. His earliest appearance in written form was in 730 when his name appeared in an Irish Catalog of Saints.
More controversy surrounds his birth. Apparently his mother was a beautiful young woman who was raped by a local chieftain or king....his father. His mother, St. Non, was a nun but it is not clear whether or not she was a nun when David was born or if she entered the convent later in life.
Again when we look at his date of birth we are given dates alternately from 454 to 544. Obviously if you're looking for a saint surrounded in mystery, St. David's your man.
For those of you not aware, by Catholic Church standards, a saint is one known to have a led an extremely holy life, believed in Jesus Christ and the the Church, and is officially recognized by the Church. Now, not meaning to drag this out, but to further that definition, in order to be officially recognized or canonized by the Church, a saint must have at least two confirmed miracles performed in his name. The Catholic Church does not "make" saints but recognizes their holiness and then investigates the miracles performed in their name. Each of these miracles must be performed after the saint has died and when the person is praying specifically to that saint. It can sometimes take centuries for the Church to recognize a saint.
St. David of Wales
Two Saint David's
St. David of Wales
St. David of Scotland
Feast Day - March 1
Feast Day - May 24
Lived 500 - 600
Lived 1080 - 1153
Prince of the Cumbrians
Life of Saint David
But, I digress, let's get back to St. David. St. David was baptized and then went to a monastery school. When he finished with school he went to an island to study for the priesthood at a young age. When he became a priest he traveled the country and is said to have started up to ten monasteries before settling down in his own monastery.
Legends about St. David include poison water - that he purified, and another about a saint riding from Ireland on a sea monster's back to warn him the bread he had was poisoned.
St. David and his monks led a typical monastic life, cut off from others. Their days consisted of prayer and fasting. They worked in the fields, prayed, and studied. They ate only one meal per day...that was their life. David was stricter yet with himself. It is said that after the other monks were in bed sleeping, David continued to pray through the night.
A certain heresy sprung up during David's lifetime and he was asked to speak at a special gathering. People at the gathering were afraid they couldn't hear David when he spoke. Legend says that as he spoke a white dove appeared on his shoulder and a hill rose up beneath his feet after which everyone could hear what he said.
The Sunday before he died it is believed that he said, "Be joyful, and keep your faith and your creed. Do the little things that you have seen me do and heard about. I will walk the path that our fathers have trod before us." The phrase "Do little things" is a popular one among the Welsh.
When he died, again according to legend, angels were seen carrying his soul to heaven. It is believed that he lived to be one hundred. A cathedral now stands where he died, the Cathedral of Saint David's at Menevia.
He was cannonized a Saint in 1120. He is the national or "patron" Saint of Wales and his 'feast' day is March 1.
The current Cathedral of St. David's was built in 1181.
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St. David's Cathedral, Pembrokeshire
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