Born: In the 7th Century in Ireland
Died: in the 7th Century in Gheel, Belgium
Venerated: Roman Catholic Church
Feast Day: May 30 (since 2004)
Patronages: Against Sleepwalking
Against Mental Disorders
Against Mental Illness
Loss of Parents
Mental Health Caregivers
Mental Health Professionals
Mentally Ill People
Representations: Being Beheaded by the King
Kneeling at Mass while her father murders the Priest Gerebernus
Praying in a cloud surrounded by a group of lunatics bound with golden chains
Princess holding a lamp and sword
Princess with a sword holding the devil on a leash
Young woman with Saint Gerebernus
Woman with a sword in her hand and a fettered devil at her feet
Saint Dymphna was born in the 7th century. Her father, Damon, a chieftain of great wealth and power, was a pagan. Her mother was a very beautiful and devout Christian.
Dymphna was fourteen when her mother died. Damon is said to have been afflicted with a mental illness brought on by his grief. He sent messengers throughout his own and other lands to find some women of noble birth, resembling his wife, who would be willing to marry him. When none could be found, his evil advisers told him to marry his own daughter. Dymphna fled from her castle together with Saint Gerebran, her confessor, and two other friends.
Damon found them in Belgium. He gave orders that the priest's head be cut off. Then Damon tried to persuade his daughter to return to Ireland with him. When she refused, he drew his sword and struck off her head. She was then only fifteen years of age.
Dymphna received the crown of martyrdom in defense of her purity about the year 620. She is the patron of those suffering from nervous and mental afflictions. Many miracles have taken place at her shrine, built on the spot where she was buried in Gheel, Belgium.
Prayer: Here us, O God, our Savior, as we honor Saint 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.