Dewi Sant, or Saint David as he is known in English, is the patron saint of Wales. And today – March Ist – is his day.
My natural father was Welsh and – although she was born Scotland – my mother moved to Wales when she was nine. So, having spent my formative years in this beautiful, rugged country, I am proud of my heritage.
Dewi Sant (c500-589) lived for nearly 100 years, becoming Bishop and presiding over two Synods. Although of noble birth, he led a frugal and ascetic life; existing on a simple diet of bread, water and herbs. He travelled widely, going on pilgrimages to Rome and Jerusalem and founding monastic settlements and churches in Cornwall and Brittany, as well as in his native Wales. Saint David’s Cathedral still stand on the grounds of the monastery he founded at Glyn Rhosyn, in Pembrokeshire.
There are many stories regarding Dewi – it is said that he once raised a youth from the dead and milestones during his life were marked by the appearance of springs of water. But perhap the most well-known miracle is said to have taken place at the Synod of Llanddewi Brefi. A great crowd gathered and when Dewi stood up to speak, one of the congregation shouted, ‘We won’t be able to see or hear him’. At that instant the ground lifted beneath his feet, until he was visible to all and a dove (which became his emblem) flew down and settled on his shoulder.
Further information about St. David, his importance to Wales and his impact on Christianity in a largely pagan society, can be sourced quite easily. But it is his dying words that resonate and have particular relevance to me today:
‘Be joyful, and keep your faith and your creed. Do the little things that you have seen me do and heard about. I will walk the path that our fathers have trod before us.’
‘Gwnewch y pethau bychain’ – ‘Do the little things’ – is a well-known phrase in Welsh, which has proved an inspiration to many – myself included. Which is why I’ve chosen it as my ‘Occupy Blogosphere’ slogan for today. I may not be able to change the world single-handedly – but I can add my ‘two-pennorth’ to a growing international movement against oppression.
So, Happy Saint David’s Day and, remember, Gwnewch y pethau bychain!
Please visit Soul Dipper’s Blog for more information and further posts on ‘Occupy Blogosphere’.