Coming Monday: Saint Dymphna!

We hope you were inspired by Clare of Assisi’s adventure of faith and courage! Up next is Saint Dymphna with an adventure that spanned the seas.

Dymphna was born in Ireland in the 7th century to a king named Damon and his very Christian wife. At fourteen, Dymphna devoted herself to Christ and took a vow of chastity. Her mother died not long after, which left her father distraught to the point that his once-clear mind became clouded. He was convinced to remarry, under one condition: that his wife be as beautiful as the one before.

Dymphna looked like her mother, and in his heartbreak, she was who Damon wanted to marry. She fled court before her father could marry her with the help of her confessor, Father Gerebrand, hiding from Damon in a town called Gheel (now Geel, Belgium) across the sea. There, as the legend goes, Dymphna used her wealth to aid the poor. She was eventually discovered by her father and was beheaded for refusing him and keeping her vow of chastity.

In the 1300s, a church honoring Dymphna was built in Gheel and quickly became a sanctuary for those who came to the city for help with their mental illnesses. These pilgrims became boarders, living in the homes of residents in Geel and interacting with the town as if they lived there all their lives. This tradition lives on today, inspired by Dymphna’s help of the poor!

Dymphna is the patron saint of those who struggle with mental disorders, especially anxiety and depression. And you don’t have to go all the way to Belgium to visit a shrine dedicated to her: in Ohio, the National Shrine of St. Dymphna resides in Massillon, Ohio, resilient and ever-present to those who look for her help.

Starting Monday, April 22nd, listen to the story of Dymphna at!