A renowned teacher, Dewi Sant better known as David of Whales was the founder of 10 monastic communities. His main monestary was at Meneiva in Pembrokeshire. He looked to the model of the desert fathers and took a very austere approach. He lived a simple life, practiced asceticism and taught his followers to refrain from eating meat or drinking beer.
The Monastic Rule of David prescribed that monks pull the plough themselves without the aid of beasts; drink only water; eat only bread and vegetables with salt and herbs; spend the evenings in prayer, reading and writing. No personal possessions were allowed: to say "my book" was an offence.
" They should work so hard that they want only to love one another" he would say. David taught that someone wanting to become a monk should be made to wait out side for 10 days. After being treatedwith hostility if the candidate is patient through this ordeal he should be welcomed warmly.
He was annointed as a bishop by Patrick, presided over two synods and went on a number of pilgrimages to Jerusalem.
His last words to his followers were in a sermon on the previous Sunday. His biographer, Rhygyfarch relates these 'Be joyful, keep your faith and your creed. Do the little things that you have seen me do and heard I've done. I will walk the path that our fathers have trod before us.'
'Do the little things in life' ('Gwnewch y pethau bychain mewn bywyd') is today a very well-known phrase in Welsh