Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Forget St Valentine - It's St Dwynwen's Day!

Welsh lovers celebrate "Dydd Santes Dwynwen" this week!
Santes Dwynwen/St Dwynwen - Welsh Patron Saint of Lovers
January 25th

St. Dwynwen (460 A.D.)
Feast Day: January 25th

Saint Dwynwen,
We beseech thee, Comfort lovers whose vision is unclear. Send mending to those with love lost. Protect our companions.
In your name, we seek to do the same. In your name, we choose love first. With the love of you, of Mary, and of Jesus Christ.

O Blessed St. Dwynwen, you who knew pain and peace, division and reconciliation, you have promised to aid lovers and you watch over those whose hearts have been broken. As you received three boons from an Angel, intercede for me to receive three blessings; to obtain my heart's desire {here you may name it} or, if that is not God's Will, a speedy healing from my pain; your guidance and assistance, that I may find love with the right person, at the right time, and in the right way; and an unshakeable faith in the boundless kindness and wisdom of God. And this I ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Dwynwen (also known as Dwyn, Donwen, Donwenna, Dunwen) lived in the 5th century. St. Dwynwen was one of 24 daughters of a 5th century Welsh Saint and king, Brychan Brycheiniog, of Brechon. The beautiful and virtuous St. Dwynwen fell in love with a Welsh prince, Maelon Dafodrill, who intended to wed her, but their marriage was not to be. Various reasons have been given for this. Some say that Brychan had already promised her to another prince. Others say that she realized she wished to live a religious life dedicated to God.

As St. Dwynwen distanced herself from Maelon, his bitterness toward her became increasingly unbearable. Upon seeing his desperation, St. Dwynwen fled to the woods and prayed fervently to God to help her end this misery. She fell asleep and dreamt that she was administered a sweet drink which immediately saved her from Maelon's attentions and released her from her heartache. The same drink, when given to Maelon, however, turned him into a statue of ice. Again she prayed to God, and was given three wishes: the first was that Maelon be unfrozen; the second was that she should never wish to marry again; and the third was that God should answer all requests made by her on behalf of lovers, so that they succeed in finding happiness through the fulfillment of their love or being cured of their passion. One of her sayings was, "Nothing wins hearts like cheerfulness."

God granted all her wishes. She committed her life to Him and founded a convent on what is now Llanddwyn island, just off the Isle of Anglesey (Yns Mon). Her holy well, a fresh-water spring called Ffynnon Dwynwen, became a place of pilgrimage. Over time she was also invoked to heal sick and distressed animals, a tradition which has survived to the present day.

The ruins of Llanddwyn chapel, a 16th century Tudor church built at the site of priory can still be seen, and there is also a Latin cross dedicated to St. Dwynwen, in Llanddwyn. Moreover, her name lives on in the town Porthddwyn and a church dedicated to her can be found in Cornwall.

1 comment:

Annie said...

I enjoyed your blog about St. Dwynwen... I found it when searching for images of Dwynwen... I recently became Catholic and chose Dwynwen as my confirmation name! Anyway, I just wanted to say hi!

Annie aka coranewf