|HEAD OF THE ST. DYMPHNA STATUE |
ON THE SHELF IN MY BATHROOM
This week's arts and culture piece is about St. Dymphna, the 7th century patron saint of those suffering from nervous, emotional and mental afflictions.
Here's how it begins:
May 15 is the feast day of St. Dymphna, patron saint of those suffering from emotional or nervous disorders.
Dymphna was the only child of a seventh century Irish pagan king and his beautiful Christian wife. The child was a dead ringer for her mother.
When the mother died young, the king was inconsolable. He wanted to marry someone who looked just like his wife. His courtiers came up with the bright idea: why not marry your daughter?
Dymphna, who had consecrated herself and made a vow of chastity, was appalled. “Think of the riches, the security, the prestige!” the king urged.
No way, said Dymphna, who seemed more horrified at the prospect of losing her virginity than of becoming an incest victim. She fled to the village of Geel, in what is now Belgium, with her confessor, the court jester and his wife.
Inadvertently betrayed by the innkeeper to the king’s envoys, Dymphna’s whereabouts were revealed. Inevitably, the king came to claim her.
READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.