Dymphna was born in Ireland sometime in the seventh century to a pagan father and devout Christian mother. When she was fourteen, she consecrated herself to Christ and took a vow of chastity. Soon afterward, her mother died and her father - who had loved his wife deeply - began to suffer a rapid deterioration of his mental stability.
So unhinged was Dymphna's father, Damon, that the King's counselors suggested he remarry. Though he was still grieving for his wife, he agreed to remarry if a woman as beautiful as she could be found.
Damon sent messengers throughout his town and other lands to find woman of noble birth who resembled his wife and would be willing to marry him, but when none could be found, his evil advisors whispered sinful suggestions to marry his own daughter. So twisted were Damon's thoughts that he recognized only his wife when he looked upon Dymphna, and so he consented to the arrangement.
When she heard of her father's misguided plot, Dymphna fled her castle with her confessor, a priest named Gerebran, two trusted servants, and the king's fool. The group sailed toward what is now called Belgium, and hid in the town of Geel.
Though it becomes uncertain what exactly happened next, the best-known version claims the group settled in Geel, where Dymphna built a hospital for the poor and sick, but in using her wealth, her father was able to discover her location.
When Damon found his daughter was in Belgium, he traveled to Geel and captured them. He ordered the priest's head to be separated from his body and attempted to convince Dymphna to return to Ireland and marry him.
When Dymphna refused, Damon became enraged and drew his sword. He struck Dymphna's head from her shoulders and left her there. When she died, Dymphna was only fifteen-years-old. After her father left Geel, the residents collected both Dymphna and Gerebran's remains and laid them to rest in a cave.
In defense of her purity, Dymphna received the crown of martyrdom around the year 620 and became known as the "Lily of Éire. In 1349, a church honoring St. Dymphna was built in Geel, and by 1480, so many pilgrims were arriving in need of treatment for mental ills, that the church was expanded. The expanded sanctuary was eventually overflowing again, leaving the townspeople to accept them into their homes, which began a tradition of care for the mentally ill that continues to this day.
Unfortunately, in the 15th century, the original St. Dymphna Church in Geel burned to the ground, and the magnificent Church of St. Dymphna was erected and consecrated in 1532, where it still stands above the location her body was originally buried.
Many miracles have been proven to take place at her shrine in the church erected in her honor, and her remains were placed in a silver reliquary in the church. Some of her remains can also be found at the Shrine to Saint Dymphna in the United States.
The priest who had helped Dymphna was also sainted, and his remains were moved to Xanten, Germany.
The United States National Shrine of Saint Dymphna is at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Massillon, Ohio and St. Dymphna's Special School can be found in ballina, County Mayo, Republic of Ireland.
Saint Dymphna is the patroness of those suffering nervous and mental afflictions as well as victims of incest.
Traditionally, Saint Dymphna is often portrayed with a crown on her head, dressed in royal robes, and holding a sword. In modern art, Saint Dymphna is shown holding the sword, which symbolizes her martyrdom, quite awkwardly. She is also often shown holding a lamp, while some holy cards feature her wearing green and white, holding a book and white lilies.
Hear us, O God, Our Saviour, as we honor St. Dymphna, patron of those afflicted with mental and emotional illness. Help us to be inspired by her example and comforted by her merciful help. Amen.
Saint Feast Days by Month
At the end of the sixth century anyone would have said that Augustine had found his niche in life. Looking at this respected prior of a monastery, almost anyone would have predicted he would spend ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton was the first native born American to be canonized by the Catholic Church. Born two years before the American Revolution, Elizabeth grew up in the upper class of New York society. She was a prolific reader, and read everything from the Bible ... continue readingMore Female Saints
Saint Michael the Archangel isn't a saint, but rather he is an angel, and the leader of all angels and of the army of God. This is what the title "Archangel" means, that he is above all the others in rank. St. Michael has four main responsibilities or offices, as we ... continue reading
St. Gabriel is an angel who serves as a messenger for God to certain people. He is one of the three archangels. Gabriel is mentioned in both the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible. First, in the Old Testament, Gabriel appears to the prophet Daniel to explain his ... continue reading
Before he was known as Saint Jerome, he was named Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus. He was born around 342 AD, in Stridon, Dalmatia. Today, the town, which ceased to exist in Jerome's time, would likely be in Croatia or Slovenia. The young Jerome was educated by Aelius ... continue reading
By CNA/EWTN News
In June 1978 the Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero, went to the Vatican to meet with the Bishop of Rome, Paul VI. At that meeting, the Pope encouraged his fellow bishop to help the Salvadoran people "on the basis of a great love." Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - ... continue readingMore Christian Saints & Heroes
More Christian Saints & Heroes
by Catholic Online
- Daily Reading for Monday, May 28th, 2018 HD Video
- Daily Readings for Monday, May 28, 2018
- Another victory for life! California court rejects assisted suicide ...
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, May 29th, 2018 HD Video
- Commit yourself to ending war this Memorial Day
- New rules for Colorado Civil Rights board after SCOTUS bakery case
- Bl. Margaret Pole: Saint of the Day for Monday, May 28, 2018
- American websites blocking Europeans over new data laws HD
- Living Words with Deacon Keith Fournier - 'The Word Became Flesh' John 1:1-14 HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, May 27th, 2018 HD
- An Ebola outbreak has reached a major city, hereĂ˘Â€Â™s why that matters HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way
Teacher lesson plans & resources
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education