Thursday 26 March 2020

Dewi Sant: St David Patron of Wales - J.B. Midgley

Dewi Sant: St David Patron of Wales 
J.B. Midgley 
ISBN 9780852447581

I have become a huge fan of J.B. Midgley’s work. Over the last several months I have read 17 of his books and tracked down the other 11. He wrote 26 volumes for the Catholic Truth Society, this book and one other. And this volume is significantly different than many of the others I have read to date. I can state I do not recall encountering the name Dewi Sant or saint David of Wales prior to reading this book. I have only visited Wales once and that was for a Rugby tour back in 86. But the people I met, and the churches I visited showed a similar faith as that present in this volume.

The sections in this book are:
Chapter 1 Patron Saints
     Patriotism and Nationhood
Chapter 2 Evangelisation in Europe
Chapter 3 Celtic Spirituality
     Ninian, Samson, Illtyd and Paulinus
     The Pelagian Heresy
     Saint Patrick and Menevia
Chapter 4 Saint David
     The Written Life of Saint David (Dewi, Dafydd)
     Birth and Parentage
Chapter 5 David, monk and Reformer
     Early Education
     The Reformer
     The Synods
     The Good and Faithful Servant
Chapter 6 Canonisation and Cult
     Miracle and Legend
Chapter 7 Devotion to Saint David
     Saint David in Art, Poetry and Music
     The national Emblem of Wales
     Pilgrimage to St David’s Shrine
     The Reformation and after
     The Welsh Martyrs
     The Continuing Welsh Mission

We are told in the forward by Archbishop Peter R. Smith of Southwark that:

“Few contemporary records survive of the life of Saint David, the Patron Saint of Wales, yet Barry Midgley has drawn up a very well researched and fascinating account of the life and influence of this great Celtic Saint. It is set in the context of the developing Celtic spirituality in the firth and sixth centuries strongly influenced by monastic tradition. It is a story of extraordinary faith and courage in preaching the Gospel in the very difficult circumstances of the Barbarian invasions and the collapse of civil authority. It is the story of ecclesiastic reform, or loyalty to the one Church of Christ and a commitment to orthodox teaching livid out day by day in a life of vibrant faith and hope, of personal discipline and self-sacrifice.”

And that is a good part of what we find in this book. An example of a life lived, that we desperately need in this day and age. But the forward concludes with these words:

“Saint David’s example should be an inspiration to all of us who try day by day to follow in the footsteps of Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ. Through his intercession may we, like him, remain ever faithful to the gift of faith which we share with this great Welsh Saint.”

And that is another part of what we get in this little volume. We have an exploration of this saint through the ages in music, art, poetry and prayer. The front cover of this volume is the design for a mosaic of this saint, that was blessed by Pope Benedict XVI. The back cover has a detail image of the finished mosaic. The book is truly wonderfully researched. And Midgley does give a balanced look at historical sources, and the pros and cons of some of them. 

The only thing I believe the book was missing was more visual examples of churches or artwork dedicated to this saint. Other than that, it is an exceptional volume. I do wish an eBook edition was available to make it easier to get in North America. But that being said.  It was a fascinating read and thoroughly enjoyed it and benefited from reading it.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by J.B. Midgley:

Advent & Christmastide with the Saints
Antonio Rosmini
Benedict - Patron of Europe
Bernard of Clairvaux – CTS Great Saints
Charles Borromeo  - CTS Great Saints
Companion to St. Joseph
Companion to the Feasts of Mary
Companion to Saint Peter
Companion to Saint Paul
Companion to the Angels
Companion to the Feasts of Our Lord
Companion to the Passion of Our Lord
Dominic - CTS Great Saints
George: Patron of England - CTS Great Saints
Dewi Sant: St David Patron of Wales
Francis de Sales – CTS Great Saints
John Baptist de La Salle – CTS Great Saints
John Vianney – CTS Great Saints
Lent with the Saints
Nurturing the Young
Robert Bellarmine
Saint John the Baptist 
Stations of the Cross and Resurrection with the Saints
The Eucharist with the Saints
The Four Evangelists
Thomas Becket – CTS Saints of the Isles
Vincent de Paul – CTS Great Saints
Witchcraft, Sorcery and Magic

Contributed to:
First Fridays and First Saturdays The Devotions Explained 

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