Recently I received a communique from a dear friend who has been laboring for many years with long-term care for beloved family members suffering from mental and physical handicaps. This person lives a loving and dedicated life to Christ and maintains an overall optimistic spirit, nevertheless the feelings of extreme weariness and concerns for the future were bearing down heavily on this dear soul.
After pondering the communication, I wondered how it could be possible to provide some support in light of this person’s personal cross. The one inspiration that came to me was a search for an Orthodox Saint known to be a patron for those suffering from mental illness. It is often the Saints of God who lift and assist in the carrying of our burdens in this life—if we ask for their assistance.
Through the wonders of the internet (and I appreciate the good that can come out of the vast sea of researchable materials on-line) I came across information on a 7th century Irish Saint, Dymphna, a holy martyr who is known as a Patron for those who suffer from mental and nervous disorders. You can read her hagiography below.
I can’t express the joy I felt over learning about St. Dymphna and being able to call upon her to support my dear friend’s loved ones. I am now brimming with hope that many more will be moved to seek her holy help, those who previously were unaware of her particular intercessory ministry.
Holy Martyr, St. Dymphna, pray to God for us!
Your sister in Christ,
ST. DYMPHNA, WONDER-WORKER AND MARTYR OF GHEEL
May 15 ( early 7th c.)
St. Dymphna was the daughter of a pagan king and a Christian mother in Ireland. When her mother died, her father desired to take his own daughter to wife. Dymphna fled with her mother’s instructor, the priest Gerberen, to the continent. Her father followed and eventually found them. When Dymphna refused to submit to his unholy desire, he had them both beheaded at Gheel in what is today Belgium. Throughout the centuries she has shown special care and concern from the other world for those suffering from mental illnesses and is greatly venerated throughout Europe and America.
Full article from whence this came: http://orthodoxinfo.com/general/irishorthodoxchurch.aspx
St. Dymphna (pronounced Deemfna) is known to be the patron Saint of those suffering from insanity, mental illness, nervous disorders, neurological disorders, depression and epilepsy.
Suggested prayer to St. Dymphna
For the mentally afflicted
Holy God, we humbly beseech You through Your servant, St. Dymphna, who sealed with her blood the love she bore for You, to grant relief to those who suffer from mental afflictions and nervous disorders, especially (names). St. Dymphna, helper of the mentally afflicted, pray for the sufferers, (names). Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen. Through the prayers of our holy fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us, Amen.