Saint Dymphna

Feast Day - May 15

Patron Saint of Those Suffering Mental Illnesses

Saint DymphnaDymphna (also known as Dympna and Dimpna) was born in Ireland.  Her father was a pagan king.  Dymphna became a Christian and was secretly baptized.

Dymphna was only 14 when her  extraordinarily beautiful mother died.  Her father Damon scoured the world for a suitable and equally beautiful replacement.  After the search failed, his advisors pointed out that his teenage daughter had inherited her mother's looks.  Driven mad by grief and mental illness, Damon made awkward sexual advances towards Dymphna.  Together with an elderly priest Gerebernus, she fled to the village of Gheel (province of Antwerp, Belgium), where there was a chapel of St. Martin, beside which they took up their abode.

However Damon's spies tracked them down.   Confronting them at Gheel, Damon ordered his soldiers to slay Gerebernus and begged Dymphna to return with him to Ireland.  When she refused, he decapitated her in a rage.  The corpses were put in sarcophagi and entombed in a cave where they were found later.  The body of St. Dymphna was buried in the church of Gheel, and the bones of St. Gerebernus were transferred to Kanten.

The earliest historical account of the veneration of St. Dymphna dates from the middle of the 13th century.  Under Bishop Guy I of Cambrai (1238-47), Pierre, a canon of the church of Saint Aiibert at Cambrai, wrote a 'Vita" of the saint, from which we learn that she had been venerated for many years in a church at Gheel, which was devoted to her.  The author expressly states that he has drawn his biography from oral tradition.

There are at Gheel fragments of two simple ancient sarcophagi in which tradition says the bodies of Dymphna and Gerebernus were found.  There is also a quadrangular brick, said to have been found in one of the sarcophagi, bearing two lines of letters read as DYMPNA.  The discovery of this sarcophagus with the corpse and the brick was perhaps the origin of the veneration. 

The burial place of St. Dymphna has long been associated with accounts of miraculous cures of mental illness.  An infirmary was built there in the 13th century and to this day Gheel hosts a world-class sanatorium.

St. Dymphna is the patron saint of those who suffer from mental illnesses and nervous system disorders, epileptics, mental health professionals, happy families, incest victims, and runaways.


O God, we humbly beseech You through Your servant,
St Dymphna, who sealed with her blood the love she bore You, to grant relief to those who suffer from mental afflictions and nervous disorders, especially *NAME*.

Saint Dymphna, helper of the mentally afflicted, pray for us!


Lord, our God, you graciously chose St. Dymphna as patroness of those afflicted with mental and nervous disorders.  She is thus an inspiration and a symbol of charity to the thousands who ask her intercession.

Please grant, Lord, through the prayers of this pure yotuhful martyr, relief and consolation to all suffering such trials, and consolation to all suffering such trials, and especially those for whom we pray,  (Here mention those for who you wish to pray).

We beg you, Lord, to hear the prayers of St. Dymphna on our behalf.  Grant all those fro whom we pray patience in their sufferings and resignation to your divine will.  Please fill them with hops, and grant them the relief and cure they so much sire.

We ask this through Christ our Lord who suffered agony in the garden.  Amen


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St. Patrick's Church at Moody Air Force Base