Saint David – Dewi Sant, in Welsh – Davidus, in Latin – circa 500 to 589 – was a Welsh bishop of Mynyw, now Saint David’s, Tyddewi, literally, ‘David’s house, Pembrokeshire, during the 6th century. David, a native of Wales, is the patron saint of Wales. He is the son of Sainte Non and the grandson of Ceredig ap Cunedda, king of Ceredigion, Though his date of birth is uncertain, ranging from 462 to 512, the date of his death, March first, 589, is now Saint David’s Day, is celebrated internationally by those of Welsh descent.
His last words to his followers were in a sermon on the Sunday prior to his death. Those words are these, ‘Arglwyddi, brodyr, a chwiorydd, Byddwch lawen a chadwch eich ffyd a’ch credd, a gwnewch y petheu bychain a glywsoch ac y welsoch gennyf i. A mwynhau a gerdaf y fford yd aeth an tadeu idi.‘ In Saxon, or English, his words may be rendered, ‘Lords, brothers and sisters, be joyful, and keep your faith and your creed, and do the little things that you have seen me do and heard about. And as for me, I will walk the path that our fathers have trod before us.’ ‘Do ye the little things in life.’ ‘Gwnewch y pethau bychain mewn bywyd.’ is today a very well known phrase in Welsh.
(Patrick, born Maewyn Succat, the patron saint of Ireland, was actually Welsh, or Brythonic Celtic, born of wealthy parents benefitting from alliances with their Roman conquerors.
British, that is, Brythonic, that is, Cymric or Welsh Christians still honoured their matricentral origins, rendering their Christianity more gentle, more benign, than its Roman counterpart.
Though Patrick’s father and grandfather were prominent in the faith, Patrick was not at first. Captured by Irish marauders who raided his family estate, he was enslaved in Ireland for six years, where he worked as a shepherd. Accompanying his escape was the vision that he would one day return to Ireland as a missionary. Before that, though, he would study with Germanus, bishop of Auxerre, in Gaul, now France, for fifteen years, culminating in his ordination as a priest.
When he did return to Ireland, his mission there lasted thirty years.)