According to tradition, St. David was the son of King Sant of South Wales and St. Non. As he grew up he realised that God was calling him to a special ministry.
He was ordained as a priest studying under St. Paulinus and was involved in missionary work, founding a number of monasteries.
He travelled widely throughout Wales and the south of England, and he also visited Rome and Jerusalem.
David believed in a simple life. His monks rose at dawn to pray, and afterwards worked the fields around the monastery. They had to pull the ploughs themselves without the help of animals, and prayed as they worked.
The men were expected to remain silent unless praying or in an emergency. They ate only bread and vegetables, and drank nothing but milk and water. David himself drank only water.
He was reportedly consecrated archbishop by the patriarch of Jerusalem while on a visit to the Holy Land.
Undoubtedly, many monasteries flourished as a result of his spiritual leadership and good example. There are many stories and tales surrounding his life.
St David is often shown with a dove on his shoulder. The bird symbolising the Holy Spirit which gave David the gift of eloquence as he preached.
Though David died at his monastery in Minevia around the year 589 , his influence continued to spread far and wide. In 1120, Pope Callactus II canonised David as a Saint. Following this he was declared Patron Saint of Wales.
A Prayer for Wales
O Almighty God,
Who in Thine infinite goodness
has sent Thine only-begotten Son into this world
to open once more the gates of heaven,
and to teach us how to know, love and serve Thee,
have mercy on Thy people Who dwell in Wales.
Grant to them the precious gift of faith,
and unite them in the one true Church
founded by Thy Divine Son; that,
acknowledging her authority and obeying her voice,
they may serve Thee, love Thee, and worship Thee
as Thou desirest in this world,
and obtain for themselves everlasting happiness
in the world to come.
Through the same Christ our Lord.