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March 1

St David of Wales (stained glass chapel panel) - March 1

Saint David of Wales

Bishop, Confessor

Patron of Wales

(Around 542 – Around 601)

“Be joyful, brothers and sisters. Keep your faith, and do the little things that you have seen and heard with me.

Saint David of Wales’ last words before dying

Saint’s Life Story

His Life

David was born around 542 to the Welsh royalty, the son of King Sandde, Prince of Powys, and of Saint Non, the daughter of a chieftain of Menevia (western Wales). He was brought up in the service of God.  David was ordained priest and retired to the Isle of Wight. He studied under Saint Paul Aurelian.  He studied a long time to prepare himself for the functions of the holy ministry. David worked with Saint Columba, Saint Gildas the Wise, and Saint Finnigan.


David engaged in missionary activities and founded a dozen monasteries. The last monastery founded was in Mynyw (Menevia) in southwestern Wales and was noted for the extreme asceticism of its rule. The Monastic Rule of David prescribed that monks had to pull the plough themselves without draught animals. In addition, they must drink only water and eat only bread with salt and herbs. The monks spent their evenings in prayer, reading and writing. No personal possessions were allowed: even to say “my book” was considered an offence. He lived a simple life and taught his followers to refrain from eating meat and drinking beer.

Attended a Synod

Around 569, David presided over the Synod (know as the the “Synod of Victory”) at Brefi, Cardiganshire. His eloquence is said to have caused him to be elected primate of the Cambrian Church. His election was made with the understanding his see would be moved from Caerleon to Mynyw, that is now St Davids. David was supposedly consecrated as Archbisop by the patriach of Jerusalem while on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. David presided at the Synod of Brefi which condemned the Pelagian heresy. David is the first to build a chancel to Saint Joseph of Arimathea‘s wattle church at Glastonbury. A chancel is a part of the choir near the altar of a church, where the officiating clergy stand.


After a vision in his monastery in the Rhos Valley, David set out next day with two monks to Jerusalem to aid the Patriarch. While there, his preaching converted anti–Christians. Legend says that once while David was preaching, a dove descended to his shoulder to show he had the blessings of the Spirit. At time, the earth rose to lift him high above the people so that he could be heard by them all. Another time when was preaching to a crowd at Llandewi Brefi, people on the outer edges could not hear, so he spread a handkerchief on the ground, stood on it, and the ground beneath rose up in a pillar so all could hear.

Welsh tradition says that during a battle against the Anglo-Saxons, David advised the Welsh warriors each to wear a leek in his hat or armour so that the warriors might distinguish themselves from their enemies.   Ever since then, the Welsh wear leeks every March 1 in memory of David.

His Death

Though the exact date of his death is not certain with dates raning from 589 to 601. Tradition holds that it was on March 1.  This is the date now marked as Saint David’s Day.   The monastery is said to have been “filled with angels as Christ received his soul.” His last words to his followers were in a sermon on the previous Sunday.    The Welsh Life of St David gives these as, “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”  is today a very well known phrase in Welsh.

St Davids Cathedral in St Davids, Haverfordwest, Wales
St Davids Cathedral in St Davids, Haverfordwest, Wales

David was buried at St David’s Cathedral at St Davids, Pembrokeshire, Wales, where his shrine was a popular place of pilgrimage throughout the Middle Ages. Over 50 churches in South Wales were dedicated to David in pre-Reformation days.

Born:                   Around 542 at Menevia (now Saint David’s), Wales

Died:                   Around 601 in Mynyw, Wales

Beatified:           Not Available

Canonized:        1120 by Pope Callistus II

Feast Day:         March 1

Patron Saint:    Doves; Naas; Pembrokeshire; Poets; Vegetarians; Wales



The Monastic Rule of Saint David allowed no personal possessions. If you even said “my book”, it was considered an offense.  All possessions that we have on earth is by the grace and goodness of God. However, when we do pass from this life, we will not take any of those possessions with us into the next life. 

What personal possessions do you have that you think of as “mine”? Thank God for all of your blessings, both physical and spiritual, that you have been given in your life. However, don’t let any of your personal possessions weigh you down in this life from serving God.


God our Father, You gave the Saint David to the Welsh Church to uphold the faith and to be an example of Christian perfection. In this changing world, may he help us to hold fast to the values which bring eternal life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who being God, lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saint David of Wales, pray for us. Amen.


Saint Links 

Aleteia – 7 Ways to celebrate St. David’s Day like the Welsh

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint David of Wales – Bishop and Confessor

AnaStpaul – Saint of the day – 1 March – St David of Wales (c 542-c 601) Bishop

Angelus – Saint of the day: David of Wales – Rev. Alban Butler Volume III: March. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. March 1 St. David, Archbishop, Patron of Wales

Catholic Culture  – St. David of Wales

Catholic Fire – Saint David of Wales: Patron of Poets and Wales

Catholic Ireland – Mar 1 – St David or Dewi Sant (c. 500–589)

Catholic Lane – St. David, Bishop

Catholic News Agency – St. David of Wales Feast Day: Mar 01

Catholic Online – St. David

CatholicSaints.Info – Saint David of Wales

Celtic Saints – St. David of Wales, Bishop

CNewsLive – Saint David of Wales, Saint of the Day, 1st March

Franciscan Media – Saint David of Wales March 1

Independent Catholic News – St. David

John Dillon – David of St Davids

New Advent – Toke, L. (1908). St. David. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

St. Davids Cathedral – Who is St. David?

Saints, Feast, FamilySaint David of Wales’ Story

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint David of Wales (520-589)

Sanctoral – Saint David, Archbishop of Wales

uCatholic – St. David of Wales

Wikipedia – Saint David

Video Links

Cradio Saint of the Day: Saint David of Wales – YouTube Video (CatholicSaints.Info)