Sunday, July 17, 2005

Today's Sermon:
Know Your Saints

Saint Dympha

(Also known as Dympna and Dimpna)

From The Catholic Encyclopedia...

Virgin and martyr.

The earliest historical account of the veneration of St. Dymphna dates from the middle of the thirteenth century.
Under Bishop Guy I of Cambrai (1238-47), Pierre, a canon of the church. of Saint Aubert at Cambrai, wrote a "Vita" of the saint, from which we learn that she had been venerated for many years in a church at Gheel (province of Antwerp, Belgium), which was devoted to her. The author expressly states that he has drawn his biography from oral tradition. According to the narrative Dymphna, the daughter of a pagan king of Ireland, became a Christian and was secretly baptized. After the death of her mother, who was of extraordinary beauty, her father desired to marry his own daughter, who was just as beautiful, but she fled with the priest Gerebernus and landed at Antwerp. Thence they went to the village of Gheel, where there was a chapel of St. Martin, beside which they took up their abode. The messengers of her father however, discovered their whereabouts; the father betook himself thither and renewed his offer. Seeing that all was in vain, he commanded his servants to slay the priest, while he himself struck off the head of his daughter.

Here's my favorite part from The Catholic Encyclopedia...

This narrative is without any historical foundation, being merely a variation of the story of the king who wanted to marry his own daughter, a motif which appears frequently in popular legends. Hence we can conclude nothing from it as to the history of St. Dymphna and the time in which she lived.

So what do you do with such a specious saint?

You make her the patron saint of the insane, of course.

I'm not kidding.

Saint Dymphna is the Patron Saint of nervous disorders, mental diseases, incest victims, runaways, sleepwalkers, and therapists.


Go forth, knowing exactly what the holy church thinks of those with mental disorders.

And investigate the saint who had more to do with the advent of the courtly love myth than she did with healing the mentally ill...

Before you light that candle.

I mean it, damn it.


Blogger Kathleen Callon said...

I tried to send you a private email but couldn't find your address.

I love your Saint Dympha entry and thought you would like my newest post about "Loki and the Eagle"... almost fell out of my chair when I read your monk joke.

I am less than a "newbie". Yours was only the fifth blog I've ever read. I have a lot to learn, but this is fun... I like sharing.

Internal growth and eternal happiness,

(Rhodian Attic)

2:24 AM  

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