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Cat Herder
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« on: February 17, 2011, 12:12:54 AM »

I have been trying to track down resources, such as books, chapels or shrines and images, related to St. Dymphna. I have a personal devotion to her due to God providing her help when I was in a period of great anxiety.

I'll start it off by linking to her U.S. national shrine (natlshrinestdymphna.org). There you can also order a book by Fr. Lawrence Lovasik ("the white book") that provides a biography of her and also a history of the development of modern psychiatric care in Gheel, Belgium, the site of her martyrdom, at her inspiration.

Would anyone like to share personal experiences or good resources on this saint?
« Last Edit: February 17, 2011, 12:41:39 AM by Cat Herder » Logged
Shin
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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2011, 12:20:26 AM »

She has such a moving story doesn't she?

We can't post a ton of links here given the links policy (see the announcements), though one can ask folks for PM recommendations. Cheesy

When I think of folks suffering from mental illnesses who need help I think of her.

Ireland has provided us with so much!
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« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2011, 12:22:21 AM »

Hmm.. looks like her pastor St. Gerebernus is another case like St. Oliver Plunkett.

I always enjoy reading about saints who know other saints in this life..

I wonder how many Sts. are like those two?
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Cat Herder
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« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2011, 12:23:45 AM »

Being new I'm not too familiar with the link policy. I do know the URL tag is disabled at the moment, hence the use of only the domain above. But given who this thread is about I'm pretty sure there won't be many links as she is, unfortunately, not that well known. Hopefully there will be book or other offline recommendations as well.

Re your second post, the Cure of Ars and St. Philomena come to mind. They knew each other despite being nearly a thousand years apart!
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« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2011, 12:28:02 AM »

Being new I'm not too familiar with the link policy. I do know the URL tag is disabled at the moment, hence the use of only the domain above. But given who this thread is about I'm pretty sure there won't be many links as she is, unfortunately, not that well known. Hopefully there will be book or other offline recommendations as well.

Re your second post, the Cure of Ars and St. Philomena come to mind. They knew each other despite being nearly a thousand years apart!

 Shocked

Yes it's quite something. I once tried to do a tree of the relationships of saints through time, from the Fathers, to track who knew whom.. but the fact that the saints relationships are also with those in Heaven while they are on this earth, really.. Well.. Cheesy

The links policy is basically users do not post links, one requests a moderator to do it, but even this is discouraged. And the reasons behind this have to do with all the bad content out there, especially violations of modesty. A fuller explanation is in the announcements. Cheesy

So we ask folks to quote or say in their own words what they want to share.
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Cat Herder
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« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2011, 12:34:24 AM »

Yes it's quite something. I once tried to do a tree of the relationships of saints through time, from the Fathers, to track who knew whom.. but the fact that the saints relationships are also with those in Heaven while they are on this earth, really.. Well.. Cheesy

That would be quite a project... probably not something that is completely possible this side of heaven, but still worthy of a try!

Quote
The links policy is basically users do not post links, one requests a moderator to do it, but even this is discouraged. And the reasons behind this have to do with all the bad content out there, especially violations of modesty. A fuller explanation is in the announcements. Cheesy

So we ask folks to quote or say in their own words what they want to share.

I think that results in better content than just links, anyway. During my various and sundry apologetics debates at CAF I found that the opponents never really bothered to read the links, anyway...
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« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2011, 12:37:21 AM »

Umph. You can say that again.

 happy roll

Glad to hear it!
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« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2011, 12:42:16 AM »

Well, my 30 minutes (and change) are up so I should call it a night. I revised the OP to be less *ahem* CAF-like. Thanks for the warm welcome and God bless!
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« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2011, 12:46:05 AM »

Have a goodnight, and safe travels! The Lord keep you I pray!  Cheesy
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« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2011, 10:36:34 AM »

I'd like to know more about St. Dymphna Little Angel
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« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2011, 06:34:59 PM »

I have been trying to track down resources, such as books, chapels or shrines and images, related to St. Dymphna. I have a personal devotion to her due to God providing her help when I was in a period of great anxiety.


Yes, if you ever feel like it and comfortable about it, someday I'd like to hear how she helped.  Cheesy
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Cat Herder
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« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2011, 10:16:48 PM »

I have been trying to track down resources, such as books, chapels or shrines and images, related to St. Dymphna. I have a personal devotion to her due to God providing her help when I was in a period of great anxiety.


Yes, if you ever feel like it and comfortable about it, someday I'd like to hear how she helped.  Cheesy

Well, I owe her national shrine a testimonial. It's on my list of things to do, somewhere. Smiley When I do get that finished hopefully I'll be able to share at least part of it over on the Daily Life board.
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« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2011, 10:54:13 PM »

Yes it's moving to read the testimonials there..

We receive gifts and helps from God, through His angels and saints, but how many remember to be thankful afterwards, and be a true and lasting friend to the saint?  Cheesy



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« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2011, 11:02:12 PM »

Nine Prayers to Saint Dymphna

Faith

Dear Saint Dymphna, you gave us an example in your own life of firm faith.

Neither flattery, earthly rewards nor the threat of death caused you to waver in your fidelity to God.

Please help us then, amid the uncertainties of life, to imitate your wholehearted dedication to Christ. Be good enough to come to our aid in our need, and pray for us to God. Amen.

Hope

Good Saint Dymphna, you placed all your hope in Christ's promises, and sacrificed even your life in that hope.

The Lord, God, rewarded your constancy by making your name known and loved over many centuries by the thousands whom you have aided in time of difficulty.

Please assist us now in our present necessity, and intercede before God for our intentions. Obtain for us a firm hope like your own in God's unfailing protection. Amen.

Charity

You are celebrated Saint Dymphna, for your goodness to others. Both in your lifetime, and even more in the ages since, you have again and again demonstrated your concern for those who are mentally disturbed or emotionally troubled.

Kindly secure for me, then, some measure of your own serene love, and ask our Lord to give us a share in His life and boundless charity. Amen.

Prudence

You were marked in life, Saint Dymphna, by a high degree of prudence.

You sought and followed the advice of your confessor and spiritual guide. You fled from temptation even when it meant exile and poverty. In your last extremity you chose to die rather than offend God.

Please help us now by your merits not only to know what is right, but procure for us also the strength to do it. Amen.

Justice

Admirable Saint Dymphna, how just you were to all whom you encountered, and how careful you were to give every person his due, and more than he might desire or expect.

By your power with God please come to assist us to be just to all we meet, and even to be generous in giving everyone more than strict justice requires. Amen.

Temperance

Generous Saint Dymphna, like all Christ's martyrs you gained this crowning grace because you prepared for it by a life of self denial.

By faithfulness in smaller things you were ready for your final trial.

Please teach us by your example and help to use the good things of life so that we may not miss our chance for life eternal. Help us, too, to watch and pray for ourselves and others. Amen.

Fortitude

Courageous Saint Dymphna, your strength was from God.

His grace enabled you to resist evil, and to prefer exile to a life of sinful luxury. Christ's own power preserved you faithful to Him in life and in death. In your kindness help us to imitate your example in little things, and gain for us fortitude to bear with the misfortunes we meet, and strength to overcome our weakness. Amen.

Chastity

Most pure virgin, Saint Dymphna, we live at a time when many are intent on satisfying every carnal appetite.

Your single-minded dedication to Christ alone is providential and inspiring.

Please help us by your power with God to see life in proportion as you did. With your aid we propose to perform all our actions for a pure motive, and promptly to resist all our evil inclinations. Amen.

Perseverance


Most faithful Saint Dymphna, you remained true to your baptismal promises to the very end.

You are, therefore, honored, known, and loved after 1,400 years by people you have aided all over the world. We do not know how long or short a time is left to us of this life here, but help us in any case to be faithful to God to the end.

Please gain for us the grace to live one day at a time as if each were to be our last. Amen.
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« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2011, 09:49:33 PM »

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The site where she died is known for its miraculous healings of the insane and possessed. There is now a well-known institution on the site, and her relics are reported to cure insanity and epilepsy.

This site was in Belgium, but I wasn't able to get more specific. Apparently she was so beautiful that her father made advances to her, so she fled to Belgium (ah....Gheel). She was then killed by him there for refusing to surrender herself to him.
She has numerous patronages, but the most well known are mental illnesses and epilepsy.
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« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2011, 12:13:37 AM »

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The site where she died is known for its miraculous healings of the insane and possessed. There is now a well-known institution on the site, and her relics are reported to cure insanity and epilepsy.

This site was in Belgium, but I wasn't able to get more specific. Apparently she was so beautiful that her father made advances to her, so she fled to Belgium (ah....Gheel). She was then killed by him there for refusing to surrender herself to him.
She has numerous patronages, but the most well known are mental illnesses and epilepsy.

That's the Cliffs Notes. Smiley Here is the long version of what transpired.

In the 600s AD, Ireland was ruled by a number of kings or chieftains who were loosely confederated under a High King at Tara.  One of these kings was named Damon. He was a very sensual man and probably married his wife for her looks; her name was Odilla. Odilla was a Christian and Damon, who was a pagan, was never able to come to grips with his wife's religion; however Odilla was able to convince Damon to allow their daughter, Dymphna, to be raised as a Christian. Dymphna was baptized by and enjoyed the spiritual direction of a Father Gerebern who apparently lived close to the castle and who probably enjoyed Odilla's protection.  There were a few other Christians in Damon's court, namely the jester, Patrick, and his wife Mary. Although Damon was a warlord, Odilla and Dymphna were loved by the king's subjects and also by those in the countryside. I imagine that Odilla handled much of the political or networking aspect of running the kingdom and was part of the glue that kept it together in those unstable times.

Odilla eventually passed away and Damon, being sensual, demanded that the countryside be searched for a replacement wife who matched Odilla in beauty. Meanwhile, Dymphna decided early on, probably around twelve or so, that she wanted to devote herself to Christ and so she became a consecrated virgin. When Damon's retainers came back from their wife-search with no success, his counselors convinced him that since Dymphna was the only one who was close to his departed wife's beauty, the king should propose marriage to his daughter.  As you can imagine, Dymphna was taken aback by this but leveraged the situation well, and was able to get the incestuously infatuated Damon to agree to a 40-day period for her to consider the proposal. Under Gerebern's direction, Dymphna decided that the only option was to abandon her royal station and flee as far away from her father as possible. And so, one fateful night, Dymphna and Father Gerebern, along with Patrick and Mary, stole some of the king's war-horses and fled to the countryside.

Along the way, Dymphna and company were sheltered in Catholic churches and they eventually reached the sea. The party crossed the English Channel (no small venture in those days) and eventually made their way to Gheel, Belgium, which was then a simple farming town, but was also strategically important due to the lack of arable land in the region. There, they took up residence near an oratory of St. Martin of Tours. The villagers of Gheel welcomed them and Dymphna grew in holiness during this time.

Damon was obsessed with marrying his daughter and hence his reaction upon discovering the escape was a single-minded search of the countryside.  He gathered clues that led him to Gheel, including checking currency at inns. So the day came when Damon stormed into the oratory while Dymphna was attending Father Gerebern's Mass. After Father Gerebern rebuked Damon, the king ordered the priest to be beheaded before Dymphna's eyes.  According to Father Lawrence Lovasik's Saint Dymphna "white book", this is the exchange that followed:
Quote
The king said, "My dearest, only give your consent, and I faithfully promise to give you all the comfort and wealth my kingdom can afford. I will decree that you shall be numbered among the most venerated goddesses of my realm and that your name shall be honored everywhere while you reign over the people together with me."

Dymphna replied, "O unhappy and cruel man, why do you want to persuade me by foolish arguments to sin against God and my vow of virginity? Do you think, O lonely king, that a love of worldly pleasures will make me renounce my firm purpose and offend my Spouse, Jesus Christ, by defiling my body? Do not for a moment believe that because I am a helpless girl I shall give in to your evil suggestions. I despise the false glory of the world, and with all my heart I love Jesus Christ and trust in His promises. I want no part of the honor of being numbered among the goddesses of your kingdom. Do not try to force me with flattering words. I am determined to keep the treasure of my purity, and I am willing to protect it with my life."

Damon threatened to do to his daughter, his own flesh and blood, what his men had done to Father Gerebern. But she rebuked him:

Quote
"O hateful tyrant, why have you dared to murder the holy priest of God who was innocent? With all these witnesses to your cruelty, do you think you can escape the punishment of Almighty God? I detest your gods and goddesses, for they are false. I adore our Lord Jesus Christ, whom I love with all my heart. He is my Spouse, my glory, my salvation, my only joy. He is my all; and I need no other, for all the angels of God delight in looking upon Him and serving Him. For His sake I am ready to bear cheerfully whatever punishment you want to inflict upon me. Neither a difference of death nor any distance of place can separate those who are united in the bonds of the true faith and who are one in the love of Christ."

The king gave the order, but the soldiers refused. And so Damon killed his daughter with his own hands.

After the insane king and his men departed, the villagers of Gheel respectfully interred the bodies of Dymphna and Gerebern. The villagers rightly recognized Dymphna and her confessor as martyrs, and as the account spread, pilgrims began to flow in. And so began the first reports of miraculous cures of mental infirmities, which have been occurring since then for 1,500 years.  At some point between 637 and 684 AD, the bishops of Cambray and Liege ordered the remains exhumed for a proper investigation, after which the bishops re-interred the relics, which were later transferred to the shrine/parish church proper. There are records of pilgrimages going back to 900 AD. In 1247 AD William, Bishop of Cambray, ordered an investigation of the miraculous cures which resulted in the construction of an infirmary on the site. And in 1316 Pope John XII testified to the miracles, Pope Eugenius IV doing the same in 1431. There had been a Confraternity of St. Dymphna for some time but it was reconstituted by Pope Urban VIII in 1636.

The villagers of Gheel were the first to invoke St. Dymphna against mental disease, her father having been a maniac. She is also invoked for health in general, for family harmony, and for many, many other causes as you can see from the prayers Shin posted above. Smiley




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