Monday, February 3, 2014

Non ( 500? -500? )

Rhigyfarch's The Life of St David,  is our main source of knowledge for both St David  and his mother Non.

Tradition holds that Non  the daughter of a local chieftain, Gynyr of Caergawch. was a Christian nun.  She was raped and that David was the  product of that rape --she was "unhappily seized and exposed to the sacrilegious violence of one of the princes of the country". Rhigyfarch recounts the tradition that the rapist was Sanctus,  a son of the King of Ceredigion. He came  upon Non- who was working in a field near Whitesands Bay while he was traveling through Dyfed in South Wales.  After conceiving, Nonita, who kept celibacy both before and afterwards, lived on bread and water alone.

 One story tells that a preacher found himself unable to preach in the presence of her unborn child, this was taken as a sign that the child would himself be a great preacher. This event is attributed as the first miracle of Saint David. 

On learning of her pregnancy a  local ruler feared the power of the child to be born and  plotted to kill it
upon birth. Non went into hiding, giving birth to David separated from those who cared for her. 

Some stories describe David’s birth occurring on a cold stormy night at St. Bride’s Bay near modern Pembrokeshire, just to the south of the modern town of Saint David’s. The place where he was born still bears the ancient chapel dedicated to Saint Non. 

According to one story, during labour, the young mother pressed her fingers so hard into a boulder beside her that she left their impression in the rock. Another account claims “ a baby boy was born in a sea of brilliant light and the boulder was split in two by a dramatic lightning strike.”

 On the place of David's birth, a church was built, and this stone is now concealed in the foundations of the altar.She brought the boy up at Henfeynyw near Aberonan and founded a convent nearby at what is now called Llanon (the village being named after her)., Non traveled to Cornwall and lived out her days in a convent.

 Non died at Dirinon Brittany, ten miles east of Brest and is buried there;her shrine can still be seen in Dirinon's parish church

graphic:TL  Chapel of Our Lady and Saint Non, Pembrokeshire, built 1934.BR St Non's Well, near the City of St. David's

No comments: