• 15 May 19

May 15 - “St. Dymphna” © artwork by Brenda Nippert. Happy Feast Day St. Dymphna!

Dymphna was the daughter of a Christian woman and a pagan king.  When she was 14, she Consecrated herself to God.  Shortly after, her mother died.  Her father was so distraught at the loss of his wife that he began to lose his mind.  As his mental health deteriorated, he began to desire his daughter, who looked just like her mother.  When Dymphna realized her father’s intentions, she ran away from Ireland and hid in Belgium. 

Her father was very determined and eventually found her there.  He tried to convince his daughter to return to Ireland and marry him.  When Dymphna refused, he got so mad, that he drew his sword and struck off his daughter’s head. 

The town in Belgium where Dymphna was hiding, is to this day a safe haven for the mentally ill.  Many patients have gone there through the centuries seeking treatment for mental illnesses.  Patients were, and still are today, taken into the villager’s homes and treated like part of their family.  The town of Geel, Belgium, has been studied for over 700 years for its success in helping the mentally ill.

 

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