There are a lot of saints that are patrons of specific countries. However, sometimes they are relatively unknown to others outside of said country. Sometimes, even residents of those countries don’t even know about their patron!
Saint David of Wales is one of those patron saints.
Want to learn more about this fascinating saint? Here are 8 facts of the great Welsh saint.
1. There’s a lot of information on him but none of his birth date
That’s right. There’s a bounty of information regarding the patron saint of Wales but there’s one thing missing: an accurate birth date.
It is widely agreed that he was born in the 6th century, with many scholars citing 520 as his birth year.
2. He had slightly unusual patronage
While it wasn’t unusual for a king and a servant to have a saintly child (Saint Brigid of Ireland, anyone?), David’s patronage is a bit more unusual.
His father was King Sant of Ceredigion, but his mom is said to have been a nun named Nonnita. She also happens to be a saint whose feast day the Catholic Church celebrates on March 3rd.
Here’s another little twist. David’s mother was also the daughter of a chieftain. This fact makes David a descent of royalty on both sides of his family tree.
3. He comes from a family of saints
Not only if his mother considered a saint, so is a cousin!
Saint Teilo was David’s contemporary and a fellow Welshman. If you want to make another saintly connection, both cousins were instructed by Saint Paulinus.
4. He’s the only patron saint of a British country who was born in the country he’s patron of
That’s right. While only part of Ireland is considered British territory, not even they can claim Saint Patrick as a native son. After all, Patrick was born to a Roman family in Britain.
Saint George, the patron saint of England? He was native of modern-day Turkey.
Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland? Born in Israel.
In contrast, David was actually born and raised in Wales. He even died in Wales!
5. He founded his first monastery near his birth place
While many saints of the time traveled, David stayed close to home. It is believed that when he was in his late 30s-early 40s, he founded his first monastery around his hometown of Pembrokeshire.
It is a common belief that modern day St. David’s Cathedral and St. David’s Bishop’s Palace were built on the site of the original monastery. He went on to found 12 monasteries in total before the end of his life.
6. The Bard mentioned him in a play
That’s right! Good ol’ William Shakespeare mentioned David in Henry V. The scene takes place on St. David’s feast day, to boot.
“Shakespeare was Catholic” theorists, go wild with that fact!
7. An English king took his remains to England
King Edward I is said to have taken David’s head and an arm back to London following a 1284 military campaign in Wales.
His relics currently reside in St. David’s Cathedral in the city of St. David, Wales, the smallest city in Britain.
8. The Welsh still celebrate his feast day in a big way
David is considered the greatest in the “Age of Welsh saints” to this day.
Schoolchildren dress up as David with shawls, long skirts, and a traditional black hat with white trim. Schools showcase Welsh poetry and music. Wales opens up over a dozen heritage sites for free on his feast day, including St. David’s Bishop’s Palace.
These facts are just the tip of the iceberg. Does anyone else know any other great St. David facts?