A Saint for Mental Health Awareness Month

Saint 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.

St. Dymphna Prayer

I think it’s awesome that St. Dymphna’s Feast day falls during Mental Health Awareness Month. I first heard about St. Dymphna out of curiosity. I Googled who the patron Saint of mental illnesses is, and I found St. Dymphna and started reading about her. It wasn’t long until I began asking for her intercession.

Throughout college, I would feel anxious and restless. When I would break down from overwhelming stress, I’d remember St. Dymphna. I’d ask for her help and intercession, and she would guide me to my Heavenly Father. Eventually, I’d find myself resting in his peace. St. Dymphna is one of my Tiny Saints that I keep on my key chain to remind myself that she’s looking out for me.

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St. Dymphna lived in Ireland during the 7th century. Her father was a pagan king, and her mother was a Christian. Dymphna was baptized secretly and made a vow of chastity, consecrating herself to Christ. Unfortunately, her mother died shortly afterwards. In his grief, Dymphna’s father’s mental health worsened. He became obsessed with remarrying a woman as beautiful as his wife was. His crooked advisors suggested that he marry his own daughter. His perspective of Dymphna warped so that he saw his wife when he looked at her. She escaped her father’s advances by fleeing with a priest, two servants, and a jester to Gheel, Belgium. There, she used her wealth to build a hospital and help the sick. Eventually, her father found her in Gheel. Dymphna still refused to marry him, upholding her vow of chastity, so her father beheaded her himself. St. Dymphna, virgin and martyr, is the patron Saint of mental illnesses, neurological diseases, and incest victims.

In 1349, a church was built in her honor. Although it burned down in 1489, it was rebuilt in 1532. Pilgrims have traveled to the Church of St. Dymphna for centuries to pray for their mental and spiritual illnesses. This church and the homes for mental health patients that accompany it are sanctuaries of healing and even miracles.

Although St. Dymphna isn’t known for having mental health issues herself, she’s still a beautiful intercessor for mental health. Because she cared for the sick so generously during her life, I like to imagine her gently caring for us as we tell her what’s wrong. She’s like a patient, understanding friend who sits with us as we cry and talk about our anxieties. If you wanted to start a conversation with her, check out the free printable at the end of the article for a prayer to St. Dymphna. Anytime you’re feeling alone, scared, anxious, or depressed, St. Dymphna will lead you to our Heavenly Father, and he’ll bring you the peace that only he can give.

~Stay radiant!

Click below for a FREE printable of a prayer to St. Dymphna!

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