Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Short Cuts

Author and Publisher - Catholic Online

Image of St. Dymphna

Facts

Feastday: May 15

Patron of those suffering for nervous and mental afflictions

Birth: 7th century

Death: 7th century

Canonized By: on 620


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 √Čire. 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.

Prayer:
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.



More about St. Dymphna from Wikipedia

St. Dymphna Comments



More Saints






Browse Saints by Category


Popular Saints

Rank

Saint

2.

Image of St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel

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 ... continue reading | shop

3.

Image of St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis of Assisi

Founder of the Franciscan Order, born at Assisi in Umbria, in 1181. In 1182, Pietro Bernardone returned from a trip to France to find out his wife had given birth to a son. Far from being ... continue reading | shop

4.

Image of St. Valentine

St. Valentine

Click Here for St. Valentine Prayer's Saint Valentine, officially known as Saint Valentine of Rome, is a third-century Roman saint widely celebrated on February 14 and commonly associated ... continue reading | shop

All Popular Saints

Saint of the Day

Image of St. Jerome Emiliani

St. Jerome Emiliani

Jerome Emiliani lay chained in the dark dirty dungeon. Only a short time before he had been a military commander for Venice in charge of a fortress. He didn't care much about God because he didn't ... continue reading

More Saint of the Day
February 2016
S M T W T F S
123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
2829

Saint of the Day by E-Mail

Saint of the Day newsletter icon

Learn about the lives of the saints and other saint resources, including a calendar, over 5,000 saint biographies, our most popular saints, and a list of patron saints. 7 days / week. See Sample


Required


Female Saints

Image of St. Kateri Tekakwitha

St. Kateri Tekakwitha

St. Kateri Tekakwitha is the first Native American to be recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church. She was born in 1656, in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon. Her mother was an Algonquin, who was captured by the Mohawks and who took a Mohawk chief for her ... continue reading

More Female Saints



Saint Calendar
Saint Feast Days
Saint Fun Facts

Angels

Image of St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel

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



Saints Fun Facts

Saints Fun Facts for St. Fidelis

St. Fidelis

Bishop of Merida, Spain, trained by his predecessor, St. Paul. He was originally from the East. continue reading

Saints Fun Facts for St. Joan de Lestonnac

St. Joan de Lestonnac

St. Joan de Lestonnac was born in Bordeaux, France, in 1556. She married at the age of seventeen. The happy marriage produced four children, but her husband died suddenly in 1597. After her children were raised, she entered the Cistercian monastery at Toulouse. Joan ... continue reading



Christian Saints & Heroes

Image of St. Agnes is honored with the blessing of two lambs (Wordpress).

Pope Francis continues tradition of blessing two lambs in memory of St. Agnes

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

On Thursday Pope Francis celebrated St. Agnes' feast day in the Vatican by continuing the centuries-old tradition of blessing two lambs in her honor. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Traditionally, the lambs blessed on January 21 are under a year old and their first ... continue reading

More Christian Saints & Heroes

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Daily Reading for Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 HD Video
  • St. Apollonia: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, February 09, 2016
  • Stations of the Cross - Series HD Video
  • Can you answer these four challenging questions about Lent?
  • Daily Readings for Tuesday, February 09, 2016
  • MAKE YOURSELF COUNT! Complete this quick Ash Wednesday survey
  • 10 important things to consider during Lent

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Kings 8:1-7, 9-13
1 Solomon then summoned the elders of Israel to Jerusalem to bring the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 132:6-7, 8-10
6 Listen, we heard of it in Ephrathah, we found it at ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 6:53-56
53 Having made the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 8th, 2016 Image

St. Jerome Emiliani
February 8: Jerome Emiliani lay chained in the dark dirty ... Read More