- MaryClaire Rodrigue
A Reflection by MaryClaire Rodrigue
St. Dymphna was born into a royal family in 7th Century Ireland. When Dymphna’s mother passed away her father, overwhelmed by grief, spiraled into depression. His thinking was so greatly affected by his wife’s passing and by the severe decline in his mental health that he decided that he wanted to marry Dymphna. Dymphna, having made a vow of chastity to God, and terrified of being forced into an incestuous relationship, went to Gheel, Belgium with her priest and a few servants in order to escape. Sadly, her father found her and beheaded her when she again refused to marry him. Due to the struggles she endured, as well as, the affects her father’s mental health had on her, St. Dymphna was declared the Patron Saint of those suffering with mental illness. Her feast day is May 15th.
As someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression for most of my adult life, finding St. Dymphna has changed my life. People who struggle with mental health issues know that the worst part about it can often be the constant feeling of loneliness. However, we do not have to suffer alone. We can look to St. Dymphna and her courageous story to help us get through it. We often look at Saints and only see the good. We look at them and see Saintly perfection, but, in reality, they suffered from the effects of this broken world just like we do. While the Saints are the perfect people for us to look up to, we can’t forget that they were human too. Knowing that the most holy people on this earth suffered too helps us stay strong and keeps us moving towards holiness.
Prayer to St. Dymphna:
Good St. Dymphna, great wonder-worker in every affliction of mind and body, I humbly implore your powerful intercession with Jesus through Mary, the Health of the Sick, in my present need. (Mention it.) St. Dymphna, martyr of purity, patroness of those who suffer with nervous and mental afflictions, beloved child of Jesus and Mary, pray to Them for me and obtain my request.