Today’s Feast – St Dymphna

Saint Dymphna was born in Ireland in the 7th century. Her father, Damon was a pagan king of Oriel, but her mother was a devout Christian. When Dymphna was around 14 years old, she consecrated herself to Christ, taking a vow of chastity. After her mothers death, shortly after, Damon was said to have been afflicted with mental illness, brought on by his grief. He was advised to find another woman of noble birth, who resembled 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, upon hearing this, fled from her home altogether to Belgium with Saint Gerebran, her confessor and two other friends. Her father found them and gave orders for the priest to be killed, then Damon tried to persuade his daughter to return to Ireland with him. After she refused, he drew his sword and struck off her head. She was only fifteen years of age. Saint Dymphna received the crown of martyrdom in defense of her purity about the year 620 and 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.

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