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The holy and glorious Virgin-martyr Dymphna (also known as Dimpna or Dympna and may be synonymous with the Irish Ss. Davets and Damhnait, Damhnade) was a 7th-century Celtic saint who died circa 650. The church commemorates her feast day May 15 and she is the patron saint of those who suffer from mental illnesses and nervous system disorders, epileptics, mental health professionals, incest victims, and runaways.


Born in Ireland, she was forced to flee to Belgium accompanied by a priest, St Gerebern. Their relics were discovered at Gheel near Antwerp in the thirteenth century. The burial place of Dymphna has long been associated with accounts of miraculous cures of mental illness. An infirmary was built there in the 13th-century and to this day Gheel hosts a world-class sanatorium.


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