Non of Wales 3 March 2017


Image St Non stained glass window in St Nons Chapel

A Celebration of Tenacity
Very little is known about the late-fifth-century Saint Nonna (or Nonnita in Welsh, Non) other than the fact that she was the mother of Saint David, Patron of Wales. She herself, however, is more closely connected with Altarnon in Cornwall, where a church and a well are dedicated to her. Her tomb lies in Dirinon in Brittany, where she died.

Her strong connections in the three British Celtic lands with dedications in Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany suggest that she was an important saint in her own right and not simply the mother of a major patron. Evidently, she was a nun at least in the latter part of her life. The later legends show confusion on this last point, since to those writing them down in the medieval church celibacy was very much a factor, and the birth of Saint David had to be accommodated somehow. Some legends claim that she was a nun ravished by someone named Sant; but this explanation is too formulaic for mothers of major figures. Such stories attempt rather clumsily to show that the mother had not willingly conceived and was therefore pure, as was the Virgin Mary. The name Sant ‘Saint’ likewise arouses suspicions. source: Saint Nonna-Celtic and Old English Saints