St. Dymphna's Life, Devotion and Prayers


Dymphna was born in Ireland circa the 7th century. She was the daughter of a Christian mother and a pagan king. Dymphna's mother secretly taught her the principles of Christianity.She lived a happy childhood until her mother died. Before her mother's death, Dymphna consecrated herself to Jesus Christ and vowed chastity.Soon after her mother died, Dymphna's father became mentally ill. His mental stability was lost and he confined himself to isolation. Damon was truly in love with his wife. Damon's counselors after seeing their king's physical deterioration suggested that he should remarry. After, refusing his counselor's suggestion many times; Damon agreed. Damon agreed to remarry another woman only if she was as beautiful as his deceased wife. Damon ordered his men to search for a woman who could replace his wife. Damon's searches were to no avail. In a way to alleviate him, the king's most trusted counselor suggested him to marry his own daughter; Dymphna. No other woman was as beautiful as Dymphna who inherited her mother's beauty.

Dymphna was astonished after receiving a marriage proposal from her father. She refused by saying "definitely not". Seeking protection, Dymphna told her confessor about Damon'sintentions. Dymphna's life was in danger after her father threatened to kill her if she kept on refusing marriage. Gerebernus, her confessor, helped Dymphna to escape. Gerebernus took a sail with Dymphna, ending up in Belgium where they found residence in a town called Gheel. Once, in Gheel they took refuge in an inn near St.Martin's shrine. Dymphna used her wealth to build a hospital in which villagers were treated successfully. Especially those who came seeking emotional help. The usage of her wealth aided the spies to track Dymphna's location.

Dymphna's father discovered that his daughter fled to Belgium. Damon ordered his spies to travel to Gheel, who ended at the inn where she was living. The innkeeper, accidentally told the spies that Dymphna was staying in there when he acknowledged that the coins used by the spies were the same ones Dymphna was using to pay for her lodging. Damon traveled to Gheel to confront his daughter and confessor. Damon begged his daughter to marry him and to return to Ireland where she would be crowned queen. Dymphna refused and told him that she was maintaining her virginity to be a nun.

After hearing this Damon ordered to behead Gerebernus. But, they did not succeed at killing Dymphna as she escaped. Later on, at the inn after Dymphna's return, Damon took his sword and cut Dymphna's head and left shoulder. She was fifteen years old when she died. Villagers took Dymphna's and her confessor's remains and buried them in a cave. Dymphna received martyrdom in 620, in 1340 a shrine was built in Gheel in her honor. By, 1480 this place was expanded to treat those who were mentally ill. Sadly, the 'hospital church' burned down. But, in 1532 another church was built on top where Dymphna's and Gerebernus' remains were buried. Miracles have taken place at this location. Dymphna's remains were placed in a silver reliquary within the church. Parts of her remains are buried in the Shrine of St. Dymphna in Massillon, Ohio, U.S.A. Her confessor, Gerebernus was declared a saint. St. Gerebernus is buried in Xanten, Germany. St. Dymphna's and St. Gerebernus's Feast Day is celebrated on May 15th, since they both died tragically on this day.

St. Dymphna was titled as the Patroness of Mental Illnesses, Distress, Alzheimer's disease, and incest victims.


Good Saint 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. Saint Dymphna, martyr of purity, patroness of those that are suffering from nervous and mental afflictions, beloved child of Jesus and Mary, pray to them for me and obtain my request.

Saint Dymphna, Virgin, and Martyr pray for us.

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