Patroness of the Mentally Ill
St. Dymphna was born in the 7th or 9th century. Her father, Damon, a chieftain of great wealth and power, was a pagan. Her mother was a very beautiful and devout Christian.
Dymphna was fourteen when her mother died. Damon is said to have been afflicted with a mental illness, brought on by his grief. He sent messengers throughout his own and other lands to find some woman of noble birth, resembling his wife, who would be willing to marry him. When none could be found, his evil advisere told him to marry his own daughter. Dymphna fled from her castle together with St. Gerebran, her confessor, and two other friends.
Damon found the fugitives in Belgium. He gave orders that the priest’s head be cut off. Then Damon tried to persuade his daughter to return to Ireland with him. When she refused, he drew his sword and struck off her head. She was then only fifteen years of age.
Dymphna received the crown of martyrdom in defense of her purity. She is the patron of those suffering from nervous and mental afflictions. Many miracles have taken place at her shrine, built on the spot where she was buried in Gheel, Belgium.
PRAYER: Hear us, O God, our Savior, as we honor St. Dymphna, Patroness of those afflicted with mental and emotional illness. Help us to be inspired by her example and comforted by her merciful help. Amen.