Wednesday, August 04, 2010

St. Dymphna, Intercessor

Paul, over at Sober Catholic, has pointed out a beautiful article on one man's encounter with St. Dymphna.  Both he and his son struggle with mental illness, and he gets his strength from St. Dymphna. He started saying a novena to her, and admits he was not very enthusiastic at first.
 "...but I was determined to simply open myself up and plead for her intercession. In the process of doing that, I finally ‘got it'. I knew that there was someone in heaven pleading my case and my son's. I probably entered the novena in bad faith. I was unhappy and doubting. In the end, I felt like I had a new friend. That was an immense comfort, and I can't see any way that comfort could have come to me except by her intercession."
The end result, Mark admits, was not a "cure" but a strength given to he and his son to carry on and improve their lives.

Another fascinating result of devotion to St. Dymphna mentioned in the article is the miracles associated with the Shrine of St. Dymphna in Gheel, Belgium where Dymphna fled from her father's advances. So many who suffered from mental illness flocked to the town, that the Sisters of St. Augustine built an infirmary for them and the townspeople took many into their home. The forward thinking model of getting patients out of hospitals and into the community was many hundreds of years ahead of its time.

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Dymphna's favorite quotes

"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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