Little is known about the life of St. David of Wales. The earliest biographies of his life date to centuries after his death. He is said to have been conceived in rape, although this cannot be established with certainty. His mother, St. Nonna or Nonnita, is celebrated in Wales on March 3.

David is said to be the cousin of St. Teilo, another Welsh bishop and monk, and to have studied under st. Paulinus, who also taught St. Teilo. Some stories say David and Teilo traveled to Jerusalem and were ordained together as bishops, although some historians doubt this.

David served as bishop of Menevia, an important port city that linked Ireland and Wales. He is also recorded as a leader in two local councils of the Church. Twelve monasteries ascribe their founding to David, who lived a strict ascetic life. His monks lived like the earliest desert hermits, working hard and in silence, spending long hours in prayer, and abstaining from meat and alcohol.

One tradition has David’s death in 601, although others believe he died in the 540s.

St. David was canonized by Pope Callistus II in 1120, and is the patron of Welsh people.