Mar 1, 2010

Happy St. David's Day!

photo via creative commons by Lawrence OP
Today is the feast day of the patron saint of Wales. His name in Welsh is Dewi and he lived from about 500-589. He was another of the great teaching monks of the 6th century.

His monastic rule was severe. The monks had to pull their own plows (no horses or oxen); they ate only bread and spent their non labor hours praying, reading, and writing.

photo via creative commons by Gerald Davison
As with most saints, there are miracles associated with St. David. A white dove sat on his shoulder, and when he preached and listeners complained that they couldn't see him, a platform miraculously appeared and elevated him.

The picture above is Llanddewi Brefi, the village that is located on the spot where this miracle is supposed to have taken place.

St. David's famous quote: "Do the Little Things in Life."

St. David's Day is not, as of yet, a national holiday (or bank holiday as they call it in the UK) but according to Wikipedia a poll found that 87% of the Welsh people want it to be. Celebrations in the country include parades, festivals, and lots of food. The daffodil is associated with the day (the flower is in season in March) as is the leek, the symbol representing St. David.

Patron saints seem to be a matter of national pride in Europe, at least in the Celtic countries. I think that's a noble quest, but I also like to learn about these saints and see how they lived and how they honored God with their lives.

He was a church leader and official. He founded monasteries in Britain and Brittany during a time when pagan tribes ruled. His life was written by
Rhygyfarch in the 11th century, although mention of him was made in 8th and 9th century manuscripts.

From Rhygyfarch's Life:

"Saint David, the bishop, was made the chief overseer of all, the chief protector, the chief spokesman, from whom all received the rule and model of right living. He was the standard for all, he was consecration, he was benediction, he was absolution and correction, learning to readers, life to the needy, nourishment to orphans, support to widows, head to the country, rule to the monks, a way to seculars, all things to all men..."

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