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May 15

St Dymphna - May 30

Saint Dympha
Lily of Éire
Virgin, Martyr
(7th Century – 7th Century)

“Definitely not!”

Saint Dymphna when asked by her father to marry her

Her Early Years

Dymphna was born in the 7th century in Ireland to a pagan Irish King in Oriel named Damon and a beautiful devoted Christian noblewoman whose name was not passed down. Raised as a Christian secretly, Dymphna consecrated her virginity to Christ at the age of fourteen.

Her Mother Dies

Dymphna was the very picture of her attractive young Christian mother. Then, her mother died when Dymphna was a teenager. Dymphna’s father, Damon, loved his wife deeply. When her mother died, Damon was so overcome with grief that he became mentally unstable.

Her Father Searches for Another Wife

His courtiers suggested Damon consider a second marriage. The king agreed on condition that his new bride should look exactly like his former one. After searching the world for a woman to replace his wife, but none could be found. Since quest was fruitless, one of the king’s courtiers suggested “Why shouldn’t the king marry his daughter, the living likeness of her mother?”

Repelled at first, then Damon agreed. He broached the topic to his daughter. Dymphna, appalled, stood firm as a rock stating emphatically “Definitely not!” By the advice of Saint Gerebernus, her confessor, she eventually fled from home to avoid the danger of her refusal.

Fled from Her Incentuopus Father

Dymphna fled her father along with her confessor, Father Gerebernus, two trusted servants, and the king’s court jester. Together they sailed towards the continent. On landing at Antwerp, on the coast of Belgium, they looked around for a residence. In the little village of Gheel, they settled near a shrine dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours.

There she devoted herself to helping the poor and the sick, and became known for her kindness and compassion. One tradition states that once settled in Geel, Dymphna built a hospice for the poor and sick of the region. However, it was through the use of her wealth that her father would eventually ascertain her whereabouts, as some of the coins used enabled her father to trace them to Belgium.

Her Martyrdom

The king came at once to Gheel for the final, tragic encounter. Despite his inner fury, he managed to control his anger. Again he coaxed, pleased, made glowing promises of money and prestige. When this approach failed, he tried threats and insults; but these too left Dymphna unmoved. She would rather die than break the vow of virginity she had made with her confessor’s approval.

In his fury, the king ordered his men to kill Saint Gerebernus and Dymphna. They killed the priest, but could not harm the young princess.

Then, her father leaped from his seat and with his own weapon cut off his daughter’s head. Dymphna fell at his feet. Thus Dymphna, barely aged fifteen, died on May 30 in the 7th century in Gheel, Belgium.

Saint Dymphna’s feast day was originally celebrated on May 15th, but in 2004 it was moved to May 30th. Although Saint Dymphna was venerated and recognized as a saint prior to the formal establishment of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, she remains a beloved figure in Catholicism and a powerful intercessor for those in need.


Saint Dymphna’s body is preserved in a silver reliquary in the church which bears her name. Gheel, Belgium has long been known as a place of pilgrimage for persons seeking relief or nervous or emotional distresses. Today, mental health professionals around the world are looking to Geel as the “gold standard” for psychiatric care. In our century, the name of Saint Dymphna as the heavenly intercessor for such benefits is increasingly venerated in America.

Born :                   7th Century exact date unknown in Ireland

Died:                    7th Century exact date unknown in Gheel, Belgium

Beatified:            Pre-Congregation

Canonized:         Pre-Congregation

Feast Day:          May 15 (formerly), May 30 (after 2004)

Patron Saint:     Against Insanity; Against Mental Disorders; Antwerp, Belgium; Mental Health Professionals; Mentally Ill People; Nervous Disorders; Possessed People; Psychiatrists; Rape Victims; Runaways; Sleepwalkers; Survivors of Incest; Therapists



Saint Dymphna’s decision to flee her home and seek refuge in a foreign land demonstrates her trust in Divine Providence. Despite the uncertainty of her circumstances, she placed her trust in God’s guidance and protection. Her example encourages us to trust in God’s plan for our lives, even when the path ahead seems unclear. Her life challenges us to reach out to those who are suffering and to offer them comfort and support.

What comfort and support can you provide today for someone suffering exemplifying the teachings of Christ to love our neighbors as ourselves?


Saint Dymphna,

You, most compassionate patroness of those afflicted with mental and emotional distress, we humbly ask for your powerful intercession.

Pray for all who are burdened with anxiety, depression, and despair that they may find solace and healing in God’s infinite love.

Even in the midst of our darkest moments, may your example of courage and perseverance inspire us to face our own trials with strength and hope.

Hear our prayers and petitions and bring comfort and consolation to all who call upon you.

Saint Dymphna, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – Centuries later, St. Dymphna still inspires this extraordinary program for people with mental illness

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Dymphna – The Lily of Éire

Angelus – Saint of the day: Dymphna

Bartleby – Rev. Alban Butler. Volume V: May. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. May 15 St. Dympna, Virgin and Martyr

Catholic Exchange – Our Patron of Mental Health: St. Dymphna

Catholic News World – Saint May 15 St. Dymphna – Patron of Mental Illness and Incest Victims

Catholic Online – St. Dymphna

CatholicSaints.Info – Saints of the Day – Dympna of Gheel – by Katherine I Rabenstein

Celtic Saints – St. Dympna of Gheel, Virgin & Martyr

Christian Apostles – St. Dymphna Biography- Patron Saint of those who suffer mental disorders

Franciscan Mission Associates – The Story of St. Dymphna

Hallow – St. Dymphna – Feast Day, Prayers, Quotes and More

Independent Catholic News – Prayers for ‘Blue Monday’

Lives of the Lady Saints – May 15. Dymphna, Whose Father Beheaded Her

Loyola Press – Saint Dymphna Feast day May 15

Melanie Rigney – Wednesday’s Woman: St. Emilie de Villeneuve

New Advent – Kirsch, J.P. (1909). St. Dymphna. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

Reason2BCatholic – Saints Alive! | St. Dymphna

Saint for a Minute – Saint Dymphna

Saints for Sinners – Saint Dymphna

Saint of the Day – May 15 St. Dymphna

Soul Candy – May 15 – St Dymphna

uCatholic – Saint Dymphna

Video Link

Who Was St. Dymphna? – YouTube (Divine Mercy)

St. Dymphna – YouTube (Catholic Online)