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Saint of the Day of 1 March: David of Wales

A saint, David, who gave his name to the city that hosted him and who spread a motto that still today populates the Welsh spirit

Every now and then it is good to go on a world tour with the saints, not to be cosmopolitan, which is also fashionable, but because it can provide useful insights.

Every face of holiness, in fact, is a reflection and light for the environment that surrounds it, thus characterised by a certain well-defined cultural substratum.

Today we focus our gaze on St. David of Wales, because for that nation, unfortunate that it has not managed to have it recognised as a red-letter feast day, a true solemnity or patron saint’s day is now in progress.

What then is known about this St David of Wales?

Very little information or certainty we have about David.

The approximate period of his birth lies roughly between the 5th and 6th centuries, until his death in the 7th century.

The village where he was born was called Menevia and was a town located in Rembrokshire.

The town today is named after him and his tomb still stands in the cathedral.

His name, which we translate as David, is spelled Dafydd in Welsh and implies one who observes austere rules in diet, such as not drinking wine, not eating meat.

He founded a monastery from which numerous saints emerged: the monastery of Mymyn.

Who knows, perhaps the name David, while Cyrus is said to have started out from Naples, is Welsh by origin.

What remains for posterity of David?

What is certain is that he was also valued, albeit from Wales, by the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church.

It was in 1120 that Pope Calixtus II allowed the devout Christian population to make pilgrimages at least twice to the saint’s tomb, earning indulgences as much as Rome.

He became the first bishop of his city also because he was very popular.

He loved things done simply: ‘Do the little things’ is still the main motto of Welsh culture today.

Because of this unusual simplicity, St David is rightly considered the protector of newborn babies.

Giving so much prominence to this figure has caused some puzzlement among those who could not and still cannot conceive of Wales as a territory with its own autonomy.

So, it could be a diplomatic move.

The saint always had great lucidity and awareness in everything he did: he himself was proud of his origins and today would like a great honour for Wales.

Sister Ines Carlone Daughters of Mary Missionaries

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