Sunday 29 January 2023

Dewi Sant - Saint David - Elin Meek

Dewi Sant - Saint David 
Elin Meek
ISBN 9781859029800
ISBN 1859029809

I will state again that finding books on Saint David of Wales of Sant Dewi has proven difficult. Of the six I have been able to track down only 2 are not for younger readers, children or picture books. That stated, they have still been great reads. This is the third book for young readers I have read and I have loved each of them. Elin Meek wrote this one and it is split page in Walsh and English. 

This is a short picture book on Saint David of Wales, or Sant David Dewi, it was originally published in 2001. A few years ago I read Dewi Sant: St David Patron of Wales, by J.B. Midgley which started my interest in this saint. And my son found out this is the patron saint of his school Saint David’s in Waterloo, Ontario so I decided to look for more books about him. This was the third that I have read in that further study.

Description on the back of the book:

“A colorful bilingual booklet presenting the story of Saint David, patron saint of Wales. Includes full-color illustrations and photographs throughout. Contains interesting facts about Saint David, ideal for all ages.”

This volume is different than the other two I have read to date. There are only a couple of illustrations. Most pages of the book however do contain photos, photo’s mainly of the Walsh countryside, and of people celebrating Saint David’s Day. As mentioned each page with text is split with Walsh on the left and English on the right. There are several pages that are just text from top to bottom. I highlighted several passages while reading the book, some of them are:

“The monks’ life was difficult. Discipline was strict and toiling in the fields was
physically demanding, without any machinery to help them. David and his followers would spend hours on end praying and standing in the cold waters of the river Alun to improve their self-discipline. There were no personal possessions, so everything was shared and everyone was willing to work hard for no personal gain. The food was very basic - bread and water, vegetables and fish from the sea, rather than meat. The clothes worn by David and his followers were also simple, rough garments made from animal skins, but they wore nothing on their heads and feet.”

“Although David normally remained in Vallis Rosina, it is said that he went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem where he was consecrated as an Archbishop. Indeed, David was regarded as one of the most prominent monks of the sixth century, achieving much during his life.”

“According to tradition, an angel told him on the last Tuesday of February that he would shortly be taken to heaven and that he should prepare himself. The following Sunday he took mass and a crowd of people heard his last sermon. Here are some of the most famous words from that sermon: ‘Lords, brothers and sisters, be joyful and keep your faith and your belief, and do the little things that you heard and saw me do.’”

“In the Book of Taliesin, written between 927 and 931, itis noted that the Welsh, the Irish, the Cornish and Bretons united in David’s name to oppose the English who were threatening the western borders of the Celtic countries.”

“The large cathedral was built in St David's in 1181 and as David's cult flourished, St David's also grew as a centre for pilgrims who came there to David's shrine to touch the relics.”

“After the Protestant Reformation, St David's Day was no longer celebrated as a religious festival because of its connection with the Catholic Church, but in the eighteenth century, Welsh societies started to celebrate it again and this has continued until today.”

“The Latin name Davidus has given us two Welsh names, Dewi and Dafydd, as well as the English name, David. Little boys in Wales and beyond are still named after our patron saint, especially if their birthday falls on St David's day.”

This was a great little read. I wish it was easier to find books on this saint in English. But I will take what I can get. After finishing this I have two others still to read. One a middle grade read, and young an adult volume in the same split page style as this one. This book would be a great addition for the home, the school or the church library. I was blessed to track it down and give it a read. Unlike most of the other volumes I have tracked down on this saint, this one is still in print. Therefore, I encourage you to give it a try, I am certain it will challenge and inspire readers of all ages.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan

Books about Saint David of Wales:

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