Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Saint Dymphna was born in the seventh century. Her father, Damon was a pagan and her mother was a very beautiful and devout Christian. When Dymphna was fourteen her mother died.
Damon, her father, is said to have been afflicted with a mental illness, brought on by his grief. He sent messengers throughout his own and other lands to find some woman of noble birth, resembling 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, with the help of St. Ocrebran, her confessor and two other friends ran away. Her father found them in Belgium and he gave orders that the priest be executed. He tried to persuade Dymphna to return to Ireland with him. When she refused, he drew his sword and executed her. She was only fifteen years old.
Dymphna was made a martyr in defense of her purity. She 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.