St.s Joachim and Anne First Century BC

July 17, 2014

St.Anne_Small_imagePatron of: Grandparents, Child Rearing, Childless People, Family Crisis, Mothers, Pregnancy.

Grandparents are the foundation of a family and we invoke Saints Joachim and Anne for strength in every sort of family crisis. As parents of the Virgin Mary and the grandparents of Jesus Christ, they offer a vast array of earthly experiences relatable to every human being. Infertility, late parenthood, an unmarried pregnant daughter, a grandson who was imprisoned and executed, are all parts of their life together which they accepted with grace and dignity.

Joachim and Anne are important as moral examples rather than truthful historical figures. According to legend, Joachim and Anne were married twenty years and still had not conceived a child. Living in Nazareth they were upstanding citizens, always tithing one third of their income to the temple. After many years, their barrenness was considered a form of divine judgment and eventually their contribution to the temple was refused and they were ostracized by their community. In shame, Joachim went off to live with his shepherds. There he was visited by an angel who told him, that Anne was pregnant with a child named Mary who was to be dedicated to the Lord. He was to return home and find his wife, who would be waiting at the golden gate, the entrance to the city. Doing as he was told, his joyful reunion with Anne at the golden gate has become a famous image in art history.

Novena:

Saints Joachim and Ann, grandparents of Jesus and parents of Mary, we seek your intercession. We beg you to direct all our actions to the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls. Strengthen us when we are tempted, console us during our trials, help us when we are in need, be with us in life and in death.

O divine savior, we thank you for having chosen saint Joachim and Ann to be the parents of our Blessed Mother Mary and so to be your beloved grandparents. We place ourselves under their patronage this day. We recommend to them our families, our children, and our grandchildren. Keep them from all spiritual and physical harm. Grant that they may ever grow in greater love of God and others.
Saints Joachim and Ann, we have many great needs. We beg you to intercede for us before the throne of your divine grandson. All of us here have our special intentions, our own special needs, and we pray that through your intercession our prayers may be granted. Amen.
(Mention your request here)

Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

June 27, 2014

 

Feast Day: June 27

 Patronage: anything

 Keywords: refuge, protection, motherly comfort, icon

 Quote: “Why don’t you just ask?”

 Symbols: lance, sponge, cross, nails, unfastened sandal

 

An icon is a visual prayer and this image of Mary comforting her young son in a moment of fear,  brings consolation to anyone who meditates on it. On either side of Mary are the two Archangels, Michael holding the lance and spear and Gabriel holding nails and  the cross Jesus will be crucified on. The child Jesus has been so frightened at the sight of these instruments of his future torment that he has run to his mother in tremendous haste, loosening his sandal. Though she is well aware that this suffering is in his future, Mary has such faith in his ultimate redemption that she calmly holds and reassures her son. If God himself can go to Mary for refuge, than anyone should be able to approach her. Her ultimate belief and faith extends to every one of us, no matter how harshly we may judge ourselves.  Our Lady of Perpetual help is said to never refuse a request for help, great or trivial. Despite their reticence to invoke her aid, many have reported hearing Mary’s calm voice saying, “Why don’t you just ask?”

 Copies of this miraculous icon can be found in tens of millions of homes all over the world. Though its age is unknown, it first made its appearance in the fifteenth century when it was brought to Rome by a wealthy merchant from Crete. His family eventually donated it to the Church of Saint Matthew in Rome. When that church was destroyed in the Napoleonic invasion of 1789, it was hidden by a priest. Sixty-four years later, its discovery so moved the Redemptorist Fathers who were building a new church on that site. Because of its great visual power, they made it their mission to disseminate this image all over the world. The original icon can be found today hanging in the Church of Saint Alphonse Liguori in Rome.

 Meaning:

 Lance and sponge: Held by St. Michael the Archangel instruments of torture in the crucifixion

 Crucifix: Held by St. Gabriel the Archangel, cross of crucifixion

 Unfastened sandal: Jesus was so frightened his sandal came off

 

Novena to Our Lady Of Perpetual Help

.

 See at Your feet, O Mother of Perpetual Help, a poor sinner who has recourse to you

and confides in you.

O Mother of Mercy, have pity on me! I hear you called the refuge and the hope of sinners;

be my refuge and my hope. 

Help me, for the love of Jesus Christ; stretch forth your hand to a poor fallen creature

recommends myself  to you, and I devote myself  to your service forever.

I bless and thank Almighty God, who in His mercy had given me this confidence in you,

which I hold to be a pledge of my eternal salvation.

 

Mary, tender Mother, help me. Mother of Perpetual Help, never allow me to lose my God.

 

 

Recite the following prayers 3 times each…

 

Our Father…

Hail Mary…

Glory Be…

 

 

Sacred Heart of Jesus, Feast day June 27

June 6, 2014

FullSizeCard_1 2Sacred Heart of Jesus Seventeenth Century AD
Patron of: Family Peace.
The iconography of the Sacred Heart speaks to us on such a basic level that its image can be found everywhere in everyday life, from tattoos on bikers to stained glass windows in cathedrals. Traditionally, many Catholic homes display the Sacred Heart of Jesus to insure domestic peace and a loving atmosphere. This ancient concept depicting Christ’s heart in flames was first meditated on in privacy by the 4th century hermits in the desert and taken up by mystics in religious communities in the 11th and 12th centuries; it did not become a popular devotion until the 17th century. In Burgundy, France, on December 27, 1673, a young Visitation nun named Margaret Mary Alacoque was praying in the convent chapel when she heard a strong inner voice identifying itself as Jesus Christ. In later visits the voice requested that she begin a devotion to an image of Christ’s heart in flames, bleeding and encircled by thorns. The flames were for His ardent love for mankind, the thorns were to remind us of His sacrifice on the cross and the blood was because He was God made man. There is no indication that Margaret Mary Alacoque had ever seen this image before. Indeed, she was puzzled by it and greatly mistrusted herself as being qualified to relay any spiritual messages no matter who they purportedly came from. When she reported her communications to her Mother Superior she was scoffed at as delusional and forbidden to perform any of the devotions she was instructed to carry out. It was only after her Confessor, Claude de La Columbiere heard her describe her visions that she was taken seriously. Unlike the Mother Superior or Margaret Mary, he was well aware of the private devotions of Bernard of Clairvaux and Mechtilde of Helfta, religious mystics who lived centuries before, inspired by same image. La Columbiere did much to publicize devotion to the Sacred Heart based on the messages Christ gave to Margaret Mary. According to her, Christ was greatly troubled by the indifference and sacrilege He was being treated with by the average person. As a reward for contemplating this image He promised:

1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.

2. I will give peace in their families.

3. I will console them in all their troubles.

4. I will be their refuge in life and especially in death.

5. I will abundantly bless all their undertakings.

6. Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.

7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.

8. Fervent souls shall rise speedily to great perfection.

9. I will bless those places wherein the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and venerated.

10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.

11. Persons who propagate this devotion shall have their names eternally written in my Heart.

12. In the excess of the mercy of my Heart, I promise you that my all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; and my Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour.
Since there is no way to physically depict the soul, it is thought that the image of the Sacred Heart comes closest. The heart is the seat of love in the body and the wounded heart represents Christ’s sacrifice at the crucifixion as well as His ongoing pain at the state of mankind.

Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
O Lord, Jesus Christ, to your most Sacred Heart I confide this intention. Only look upon me, then do what your love inspires. Let your Sacred Heart decide. I count on you. I trust in you. I throw myself on your mercy. Lord Jesus, you will not fail me. (Mention your request.)

Sacred Heart of Jesus I trust in you. Sacred Heart of Jesus I believe in your love for me. Sacred Heart of Jesus, your kingdom come. Sacred Heart of Jesus, I have asked you for many favors, but I earnestly implore this one. Take it, place it in your open heart. When the Eternal Father looks upon it, he will see it covered with your Precious Blood. It will no longer be my prayer, but yours, Jesus. Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you. Let me not be disappointed. Amen.

Novena for June: St.Aloysius, June 21

June 6, 2014

FullSizeCard_1
St. Aloysius Gonzaga 1568-1591
Patron of: AIDS Patients, AIDS Caregivers, Youth, Vocations.
A duke from the legendary Gonzaga family of Mantua, Aloysius Gonzaga was born to inherit great wealth and to rule alongside the best families of Europe. While still a teenager he defied his powerful father, renouncing his birth rite in order to become a Jesuit novice. Weak in physical health but living a strong interior life, he knew he would not live long. He happily accepted his destiny and put himself into the hands of the Virgin Mary. Despite his fragile constitution, he insisted on caring for plague victims during a particularly virulent outbreak quickly decimating the city of Rome. He fell ill and lingered for months fully knowing his fate. Because his life was cut short at such an early age, and because he understood both the caregiver and patient side of serious illness, he is invoked by those with AIDS as well as those who tend sufferers of that disease. His novena is written by himself, commending his future to the Virgin Mary who he had a strong devotion to.

Though his father wanted him to be a great soldier, Aloysius Gonzaga was always a pious youth. He obediently served as a page in the Florentine court of Lorenzo de Medici and in the more auspicious Spanish noble court. Still, political ambition held no interest for him and he was appalled by the corruption and licentious behavior of the nobility. While in Spain he read a book about Jesuit missionaries in India and decided to join them for foreign missionary work. His father did everything in his power to prevent his son from giving up all his earthly privileges. When it appeared that Aloysius could not be persuaded away from the religious life, his family implored him to at least accept a higher office in the Italian church. Instead, he insisted on his birth rite being transferred to his younger brother and entered the Jesuit house of Sant’ Andrea in Rome as a lowly novice.

The Jesuits found Aloysius too extreme in his devotions and forced him to eat better, mix with his fellows more, and to distract himself with physical recreation. As the plague swept Rome in 1591, the Jesuits opened their own hospital, forbidding Aloysius from working there due to his fragile physical disposition. As many of his brethren were felled by the illness, Aloysius threw himself into the role of caregiver with all his capabilities. No chore was considered too humble for him to do. He himself fell in March of that year and was given the last rites. He surprised everyone by recovering from that bout. Three months later, he was bedridden with a low grade fever. Though his condition seemed routine, he announced his impending death. Once again he was given the last rites and died during the prayers for the departing.

Because of Aloysius Gonzaga’s personal inner strength at such a young age, he is called upon by teenagers at times of peer pressure. Since he knew exactly wanted to be as a teenager, he is also called upon by the young to help recognize an occupation or state of life.

Prayer

Commending Oneself to Mary by Saint Aloysius Gonzaga
O holy Mary, my Mistress, into thy blessed trust and special blessing, into the bosom of thy tender mercy, this day, every day of my life and at the hour of my death, I commend my soul and body; to thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life, that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits, all my actions may be ordered and disposed according to thy will and that of thy divine Son. Amen.

 

Novena for June: St. Anthony, June 13

June 6, 2014

St. Antonius a PaduasmallSt. Anthony, June 13

Wonder and miracles are infused with every story of Saint Anthony. Though he has been dead for almost 800 years, he is still the most popular saint in the world and his statue is found in every Catholic Church. Saint Anthony is best known as the patron saint of lost articles but he is invoked for help in all life situations. In his own day he was called the “Wonder Worker’ and credited with the ability to stop the rain, raise the dead and reattach severed limbs. He was such a charismatic preacher that when a crowd of heretics in Rimini refused to listen to his preaching, the fish raised themselves out of the water to hear him.

Born Fernando de Bulhes in Lisbon, Portugal, he disappointed his noble family by rejecting his luxurious life and joining the Augustinian religious order. A scholar by nature, he read every book in the monastery, devoting his time to contemplative prayer. Eventually, he befriended a group of itinerant Franciscan monks and became fascinated with this new religious order. Much impressed by their dedication to simplicity, poverty and their belief in returning to the original words of Christ, he joined their ranks, changing his name to Anthony in honor of Saint Anthony of the Desert, the patron of their little church. Returning home from a failed missionary venture in Morocco, his ship was blown off course and he wound up in Messina, Sicily. A group of Franciscan friars insisted he go north with them for a great gathering of all Franciscans, with their founder Francis of Assisi. Anthony remained in Italy and discovered his great gift of preaching when a superior ordered him to speak at an ordination, telling him to say whatever the holy spirit had infused into him. He astonished his audience, not only by his skills as an orator but by the depth of his knowledge. He was sent throughout northern Italy and southern France on evangelical preaching missions which gathered crowds in the tens of thousands. His popularity among the people increased as he used his position to get real changes enacted for their protection. While based in Padua, he observed the crushing power of debt upon the common people. At Anthony’s insistence, the local municipality enacted a law protecting those who could not pay their debts that is still enforced today.

Anthony exhausted himself preaching out in fields and in piazzas as there was not cathedral large enough to hold all who came to hear him. At the age of thirty six, his health began to fail him and a local Count donated a woodland retreat for his recovery. One morning the Count heard the sounds of a baby giggling and he looked out to see Anthony surrounded in light, playing with the baby Jesus. That Christ would choose to appear to one of his saints in such a vulnerable state is a testament to the loving and kind nature of Saint Anthony. Because he is depicted holding a baby, women having trouble conceiving invoke his aid. Being of Portuguese descent, Anthony’s feast day is very auspicious for marriages in Portugal and Brazil and in those cultures, he is known to assist women seeking a husband.

According to legend, Saint Anthony earned the title patron saint of lost articles when a novice borrowed his psalter and failed to return it. Saint Anthony prayed to get it back and the novice was visited by terrifying visions that sent him running back to Anthony with the book. In iconography, Anthony always holds the baby Jesus and a lily for purity. Many times the returned book of the gospels is included.

Patron of: Lisbon, Portugal, Padua, amputees, barren women, domestic animals, draftees, oppressed people, orphans, paupers, the poor, pregnant women, prisoners, sailors

Novena

Holy Saint Anthony, gentle and powerful in your help, Your love for God and charity for His creatures, made you worthy when on earth, to possess miraculous powers. Miracles waited on your word, which you were always ready to request for those in trouble or anxiety. Encouraged by this thought, I implore you to obtain for me (mention your request here). The answer to my prayer may require a miracle. Even so, you are the saint of miracles. Gentle and loving Saint Anthony, whose heart is ever full of human sympathy, take my petition to the Infant Savior for whom you have such a great love, and the gratitude of my heart will be ever yours. Amen

It is customary to donate to Saint Anthony’s Bread, a charity started in Saint Anthony’s lifetime, in gratitude to answered novena prayers.

Prayers to San Gaetano

May 22, 2014

ac7088ea9ac06ecdef2a23665d29561a

Patron of Job Seekers

Introductory prayer for every day:Omnipotent and everlasting God, You wanted San Cayetano to trust in your Providence and despise earthly things and You enriched him with abundant spiritual goods, grant that those who implore the graces of your Divine Providence are aided in their necessities by San Cayetano’Äôs intercession. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

FIRST DAY
Glorious San Cayetano, you appreciated the healthful practice of prayer so much that your life was a continuous prayer, and to this beneficial exercise you dedicated particularly up to eight hours daily; grant us that we should be totally convinced that everything is reached by means of prayer and nothing can be gained without it and that all our prayers will be alive, faithful, reverently attentive, deeply humble, confident and perseveringly inexhaustible. Amen.
(Conclude with the final prayer).

SECOND DAY
Glorious Protector San Cayetano, whose love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament made you raise beautiful temples to Him, adorning them with magnificence, and exhorting the faithful to receive frequently the Holy Eucharist, teach us reverence to the Holy Sacrament and to receive It modestly to merit eternal life. Amen.
(Conclude with the final prayer).

THIRD DAY
My Glorious protector San Cayetano, whose singular devotion to Mary made you deserve her protection, particularly in the hour of your death when she sweetly said “Cayetano, come with me, my son is calling you”, intercede with this kind Mother whom we invoke during all the moments of our lives and this way She will attend to us now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
(Conclude with the final prayer).

FOURTH DAY
My Glorious protector San Cayetano, staunch defender of the Faith against all attacks of heresy, discoverer of what was ailing the Church, grant that we appreciate the inestimable gift of faith, without which it is impossible to please God, and swiftly reject with firmness all errors. Amen.
(Conclude with the final prayer).

FIFTH DAY
O Glorious Saint, you took so much to heart the virtue of hope that you rejected what the world had to offer and gave all your trust to God’s Providence to sustain your communities. Grant that we might live with the unshakable hope that God, through the merits of His Divine Son, will give us Eternal Life together with the means of obtaining it, and that temporary earthly goods will never serve as an obstacle to us in gaining it. Amen.
(Conclude with the final prayer).

SIXTH DAY
San Cayetano my protector, I can see your chest bursting with the love of others and your heart coming out to save the poor and to fight sin. I beseech you, grant that we love God and our neighbour with all our hearts.
(Conclude with the final prayer).

SEVENTH DAY
O my Glorious Saint whose deepest humility made you give up all your worldly benefices from your priesthood, grant that God will not cease to look upon us because of our pride but that we will deserve His mercies through our sincere humility.
(Conclude with the final prayer).

EIGHTH DAY
My dearest San Cayetano, you who were patient and suffered all your life especially during the sacking of Rome when the foreign soldiers tortured you, grant us the patience to undergo the adversities of this life thus gaining our glorious crown in Heaven.
(Conclude with the final prayer).

NINTH DAY
My Glorious Protector San Cayetano whose perfect chastity made you deserving Mary giving you Her Son Jesus to hold, grant that we will not stain our souls with sin and will guard our purity with Christian mortification.
(Conclude with the final prayer).

Final Prayer:
(In order to gain this grace and others that we wished to obtain by intercession of San Cayetano, we now say three ‘Our Father’ to the Blessed Trinity. Then this final prayer composed by San Cayetano himself is said):
“Look down, O Lord, from Your sanctuary, from Your dwelling in heaven on high, and behold this sacred Victim which our great High Priest, Your Holy Son our Lord Jesus Christ, offers up to You for the sins of His brethren and be appeased despite the multitude of our transgressions. Behold, the voice of the Blood of Jesus, our Brother, cries to You from the cross. Give ear, O Lord. Be appeased, O Lord. Hearken and do not delay for Your own sake, O my God; for Your Name is invoked upon this city and upon Your people and deal with us according to Your mercy. Amen.
That You would defend, pacify, keep, preserve, and bless this city, we beseech You, hear us.”

 

Sharing Everyday Miracles

May 22, 2014

THANK YOU_EDAYTo be out of debt.

Family

My everyday miracle is my Beautiful Family that I am Blessed with.

My devotion to Jesus and The Blessed Mother help me to get thru everyday trials n tribulations.

The blessed virgin delivered a family member from addiction. Saved her life…

Good marriage.

I can say that Saint Peregrine must have had a hand in healing my dad from Stage IV cancer. My dad was diagnosed with stage IV throat cancer at the age of 48. We were told it was terminal and at 24 years old, I was prematurely mourning the loss of my father and best friend before he was even gone. It is 6 years later and he’s healed and still with us. Although he suffers from a multitude of other health problems, I can say it is a miracle that the cancer is gone.

I went into a church to say some prayers before going to work on the weekend. I had taken my lunch in a plastic ziplock bag with me. I placed the bag next to me on the pew and closed my eyes and knelt. I was think about two things— I wished I had an extra $20.00 to donate to St. Anthony’s bread and the other that I had judged a friend mother who had recently died to harshly and I was asking for forgiveness. When Iopened my eyes and sat back down on the pew I found a $20.00 bill and folded sheets of paper cliped to my plastic lunch bag (the sheets had forgivenesss prayers on them). That is my everyday miracle.

Everyday Miracles

May 6, 2014

CALL_FOR_EVERYDAY_M

Novena’s for The Month of May

May 5, 2014

St. Peregrine May 1 – Cancer
St. Dymphna May 15 – Mental Illness, Incest, Runaways
St. Rita of Cascia May 22 – Impossible Causes, Bad marriages, Spousal abuse

 

St.Rita

St. Rita of Cascia 1386-1457

Patron of: Impossible Causes

An abused wife, a mother who’s children died, a widow of a murdered husband, and finally, a nun, Saint Rita experienced many lives in her time on earth. Knowing the powerlessness and despair of those in bad marriages she is invoked for help in desperate times. In her own lifetime she was famous for the power of her prayers to change any situation and it was said that she could accomplish the impossible. Canonized almost 500 years after her birth, she is the first declared female saint of the 20th Century. Margarita Lotti was born to an older farming couple in Roccaporena, Italy. She was called Rita because of a vision of an angel her mother had who named the baby while declaring, “You will give birth to a daughter marked with the seal of sanctity, gifted with every virtue, a helper to the helpless and an advocate of the afflicted.” As proof of this prophecy, bees, a sign of divine presence, always hovered over her crib as she slept, never harming or waking her. Though she had always wanted to be a nun, Rita’s parents feared for her future security as there was a schism in the church and many religious orders were closing their doors. Instead, she had to accept a marriage they contracted for her with a man named Paolo Mancini. Though he was a good provider, he soon proved to be an abusive, promiscuous husband. Settling his personal disputes with violence, Mancini created a tense family environment for Rita and the two sons she had with him. Never wavering in her devotion to God, Rita prayed that her husband would change his ways. After 18 years of marriage, Paolo had a vision of himself as others saw him and begged for his wife’s forgiveness. A lifetime of enemies caught up with Paolo and he was murdered, his mutilated body dumped on his family’s doorstep. Rita begged her two teenaged sons not to pursue a vendetta against his killers, but they refused. She prayed to God to prevent her sons from murdering anyone. Both of them came down with serious illnesses and died before they could act on their vendetta. Alone in the world, Rita petitioned to join the Augustinian convent. Because several of the nuns there had family members who were involved in Paolo’s murder, the convent refused her, not wanting tensions to carry over from the outside world. Rita prayed and entreated Paolo’s family to forgive his killers. Much to everyone’s surprise, they acquiesced and Rita was admitted to the convent on her third try. While there she spent her days nursing the older nuns and concentrating on Christ’s suffering. When she begged to feel what Christ felt on the cross, a thorn from the crown of thorns on a crucifix struck her on the head and became embedded there. It left a deep wound that never healed. Because this wound became infected and foul smelling Rita was shunned by the other nuns and remained in her cell praying and meditating. The January before she died, a cousin asked her if there was anything she needed and she asked for a rose from her childhood garden. The cousin was shocked to see that there was indeed two roses growing in that garden in the middle of January. Upon her death, her cell was filled with the smell of roses. Rita is always depicted with the thorn in her head, in her Augustinian habit, meditating on the crucified Christ. Thorns: she took on the suffering of Christ Wound in the head: Divine light, grace and spiritual power. Roses: love. Also proof of Rita’s miraculous powers as her roses grew in the winter.

Novena to Saint Rita

O holy protectress of those who art in greatest need, O you who shine as a star of hope in the midst of darkness, blessed Saint Rita, bright mirror of God’s grace, in patience and fortitude you are a model of all states in life. I unite my will with the will of God through the merits of my Savior, Jesus Christ, and in particular through his patient wearing of the crown of thorns, which with tender devotion you daily contemplated. Through the merits of the holy Virgin Mary and your own graces and virtues, I ask you to obtain my earnest petition, provided it be for the greater glory of God and my own sanctification. Guide and purify my intention, O holy protectress and advocate, so that I may obtain the pardon of all my sins and the grace to persevere daily, as you did in walking with courage, generosity, and fidelity down the path of life.

(Mention your request).

Saint Rita, advocate for the impossible, pray for us. Saint Rita, advocate of the helpless, pray for us.

(Recite Our Father, Hail Mary and the Glory Be three times each).

Amen.

Novena’s for The Month of May

May 5, 2014

St. Peregrine May 1 – Cancer
St. Dymphna May 15 – Mental Illness, Incest, Runaways
St. Rita of Cascia May 22 – Impossible Causes, Bad marriages, Spousal abuse

St. Dymphna

Saint Dymphna 605-620

Feast Day: May 15

Patron of: Mental Illness

As a victim of a mentally ill father, Saint Dymphna offers much solace to those suffering from psychological problems as well as their families. She is invoked to bring peace to the unbalanced as well as create an aura of calm and consolation for those who live in the midst of instability. Having lived such a short life so long ago, there is very little factual information available about Saint Dymphna. According to a written report commissioned by the Bishop of Cambrai seven hundred years after her death, Dymphna was born an Irish princess. Her mother was a devout Christian married to Damon, a pagan king. Dymphna’s mother made sure her daughter was brought up as a Christian, having installed her own confessor, Gerebran into her household. At the age of fourteen Dymphna lost her mother and her father went mad with grief. After a period of mourning, he searched all of Ireland for a new companion but could not find a woman who even remotely resembled his first wife. Because Dymphna was almost the exact image of her mother, Damon decided to marry her and make her his queen, disregarding the fact that she was his own daughter. In order to thwart this plan, Gerebran and Dymphna escaped the castle and went abroad to Antwerp. Eventually settling in Gheel in Belgium, they lived as religious hermits. Dymphna studied to be an anchoress which was a woman who lived in a room connected to a church with a window open to the street. Towns in the middle ages usually supported these people who offered their knowledge to those in need of advice. It took Damon and his men a year to find Dymphna and Gerebran. The priest was executed immediately and Dymphna was offered her father’s kingdom in exchange for returning home with him. When she refused, he decapitated her in a rage. Both bodies were immediately buried. Since epilepsy and mental illness were all thought to be caused by demonic possession, those suffering from mental afflictions were never welcomed to live in one place and were doomed to wander from town to town. Soon after Dymphna’s death, a group of five of these social pariahs slept at the site of her murder and were instantly healed by the blood in the earth. In the 13th century, the remains of an unknown man and woman were accidentally disinterred at Gheel. The name DYMPNA was written on a brick over the woman’s remains. As the remains were reinterred in a tomb, miraculous healings of the mentally ill and epileptics in the region were recorded. Gheel became a pilgrimage site for anyone suffering from any form of mental illness. By the end of the thirteenth century a major hospital and treatment center was built there for those suffering from nervous disorders. To this day, Gheel offers the most advanced and humane treatment for the mentally ill in the world. Saint Dymphna’s remains, in the church named for her there continues to be a place of pilgrimage.

Novena to Saint Dymphna

O God, we humbly beseech you through your servant Saint Dymphna, who sealed with her blood the love she bore you, to grant relief to those who suffer from mental afflictions and nervous disorders, especially (mention the afflicted person). Saint Dymphna, helper of the mentally afflicted, pray for us. Saint Dymphna, comforter of the despondent, pray for us. Saint Dymphna, renowned for many miracles, please hear my plea. Amen. (Recite one Glory Be).

 


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