Be Joyful: Saint David of Wales

St. David of Wales

St. David of Wales

Happy St. David of Wales’ day! Dewi Sant, as he is called in Welsh, lived from about 500 to 589. Born in Wales, David established monasteries (one tradition holds that he founded Glastonbury Abbey) before being consecrated bishop; on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, the Patriarch there consecrated him archbishop of Wales. Legend holds that once while he was preaching to a large crowd, a dove alighted on his shoulder, signifying the blessing of the Holy Spirit on his preaching, so he now often is depicted with a dove on his shoulder. His last words, preached the Sunday before he died, included an exhortation to “Be joyful, and keep your faith and your creed. Do the little things that you have seen me do and heard about.” To this day, “Do the little things in life” is a common Welsh idiom.

The Welsh composer Arwel Hughes has composed an oratorio on the life of Saint David, called Dewi Sant. It’s out of print now and used copies are rather expensive, but if you love choral music it’s worth checking out.

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About Carl McColman

Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.