Saint Dymphna

Saint Dymphna

Saint Dymphna was born in Ireland in the 7th century (date is unknown) to her pagan father, Damon, and Devout Christian Mother. Dymphna was greatly influenced by her mothers devotion, at the age of fourteen she consecrated herself to Christ and took a vow of chastity. Soon after, her mother passed and her father, who had loved his spouse so deeply, began to suffer a rapid deterioration of his mental stability. 

Damon, Dymphna’s father, became so unhinged being left on his own, that his advisors suggested he remarry. Although he was still full of grief he agreed to remarry if he could find a woman as beautiful as his late wife. When his search for a woman as such came up empty, his ill-willed advisors whispered sinful suggestions of marrying his own daughter Dymphna. She afterall was the closest resemblance to his wife. So twisted did Damon’s thoughts get that he could not let go of this image and consented to his advisors the plan to marry Dymphna.

Hearing of her father’s plan, Dymphna fled her castle with the help of her confessor and two trusted servants. The group sailed to what is now known as Belgium where they settled in the town of Geel. While the story becomes unclear as to what happened next, most of the well-known versions claim that after the group has settled, Dymphna used her wealth to build a hospital where she cared for the poor and sick. Unfortunately, due to the use of her wealth, her father was able to discover her location. 

Damon traveled to belgium and upon finding his daughter captured her and her companions. He ordered Dymphna’s confessor to be beheaded as part of his attempt to convince Dymphna to return to Ireland with him. Dymphna held her ground on her refusal which enraged Damon. In this burst of anger he drew his sword and struck Dymphna. Damon feld, leaving her and her confessor beheaded where they had been found. Dymphna was only fifteen at the time of her death.

The residents of Geel found both Dymphna and her confessors' remains and laid them to rest. In defense of her purity, Dymphna received the crown of Martyrdom around the year 620. In 1349, a church was built in the town of Geel in her honor. As devotion to Dymphna grew, the church underwent expansion. So many people made the pilgrimage to Geel to ask for Dymphna’s intercession that many of the townspeople welcomed pilgrims into their homes. 

Saint Dymphna is the patroness of those suffering nervous and mental afflictions as well as victims of incest. Her feast day is celebrated on May 15th. 

Prayer to Saint Dymphna 

I turn to you, dear virgin and martyr, confident of your power with God and of your willingness to take my cause into your hands.

As patroness of the nervous and emotionally distressed, I firmly hope that through your kind intercession He will restore my lost serenity. Please gain for me the grace that He may expel from my soul the evil spirit of depression, hatred, fear and any other negative forces that may dwell within. May He speak to my heart and reassure me: “My peace I give you. Let not your heart be troubled nor let it be afraid.”

Pray for me, dear St. Dymphna, that my nervous and emotional turmoil may cease, and that I may again know serenity and personal peace. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.


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