Dymphna was the daughter of a Damon, a Celtic chieftain
and his beautiful wife
who was a pious
Christian. Damon love
d and respect
ed his holy
wife , who raised Dymphna as a Christian
. Dymphna took as her spiritual director
an elderly priest
According to tradition, when Dymphna was fourteen, her mother died and her father's grief drove him over the brink
. To relieve Damon of his great distress
, his adviser
s recommended he take another wife. They instituted a search
to find another righteous, noble, and beautiful woman who would consent to marry Damon. Unfortunately they could find none. Damon then hit upon the idea
of marrying his daughter, who was as pure and beautiful as her mother.
Dymphna, horrified by the idea of this union
ed her insane
father and with the help of her priest, Gerebran, she abandon
ed her home
and crossed the sea
. Damon found them in Gheel and immediately had Gerebran behead
ed for his part in the escape
. The mad chieftain again attempted to persuade her to return with him to Ireland
. When Dymphna continued to resist his advances, Damon drew his sword
in a fit of rage
and beheaded his daughter on the spot. She was only 15 years old at the time.
About 620 Dymphna received the crown
in the defense
of her chastity
. Today Gheel, where both Dymphna and Gerebran were kill
ed, has become a holy shrine
. As the result of invocations to St. Dymphna many miracles
have taken place at the site
. The old church
of St. Dymphna in Gheel was destroyed by fire
in 1489. Its replacement was consecrate
d in 1532 and still stands.
Dymphna is now the patron saint of those suffering from mental
and emotional distress
. She has also been called the Patroness of Victims of Abuse
St. Dymphna’s Feast Day is May 15. Every year on her feast day and on the Tuesday after Pentecost
s visit her shrine
in Gheel. In art, Dymphna is often depicted with a sword in her hand and a fettered devil
at her feet. St. Dymphna encourage
s all who face and deal with emotional and mental illness, stress, tension, frustration, abuse and incest. As a victim of one possessed by insanity, Dymphna remained faithful to her beliefs.
St. Dymphna Devotion
The St. Dymphna Devotion is sponsored by the Franciscan Mission Associates to bring spiritual benefits to all who are afflicted with emotional stress, tension, frustration, or mental illness.
Prayers to St. Dymphna
Here us, O God, Our Savior, 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.
Prayer in Honor of St. Dymphna (from the St. Dymphna Devotion)
Lord, God, Who have graciously chosen St. Dymphna to be the patroness of those afflicted with mental and nervous disorders, and have caused her to an inspiration and a symbol of charity to the thousands who invoke her intercession, grant, through the prayers of this pure, youthful martyr, relief and consolation to all who suffer from theses disturbances, and especially to those for whom we pray.
(Here mention those for whom you wish to pray.)
We beg You to accept and to satisfy the prayers of St. Dymphna on our behalf. Grant to those we have particularly recommended patience, in their sufferings and resignation to Your Divine Will. Fill them with hope and, if it be in accord with You Divine Plan, bestow upon them the cure they so earnestly desire. Through Christ, our Lord, Amen.