Feast Day of St. DymphnaPatron Saint of those who suffer Epilepsy, Insanity, Mental illness, and Neurological diseases
Saint Dymphna, according to tradition, was born the daughter of Damon, a pagan king of Ireland. Early in her life, she became a Christian and was secretly baptized. When she was only 15 years of age, her mother died, and her father was wrought by terrible grief. He sent messengers throughout his own town and other lands to find another to be his wife, only none could be found. He proposed to his daughter that they marry, only she refused.
Dymphna fled from her father’s castle with Saint Gerebran, her confessor, and two other friends. Their boat landed in Gheel, Belgium. Damon found them in Belgium, due to tracing her spending of foreign currency, and proposed his offer once again. At this, Gerebran rebuked the king for his proposition and urged Dymphna to remain in opposition. Damon then ordered his servants to behead the priest. When she persisted in her refusal, he drew his sword and struck off her head. Saint Dymphna received the crown of martyrdom in defense of her purity about the year 620.
Shortly after her death, five “lunatics” wandered to the countryside where she was killed, and slept the night there, only to awaken cured. She has since been invoked as the patron of those suffering from nervous, mental, and spiritual afflictions. A church was built on this site, only to be destroyed by fire in 1489, and rebuilt in 1532. The church remains to the present day, and has been joined by a house for the mentally ill that often houses as many as 1,500 patients.
St. Dymphna, pray for us.