St. Dymphana was born in Ireland in the 600’s. While at this stage in Irish history was predominantly Catholic, her father had held a strong belief in his paganistic beliefs. Yet her mother was renowned as a pious and holy Christian woman. Her mother’s faith was preceded only by admiration for her physical beauty. Dymphna followed in the steps of her mother, both in beauty and holiness. By the encouragement of her mother, Dymphna was instructed by a pious older women of the household in the ways of Christianity and was baptized at a young age.
Before too long, and especially encouraged by the young age of marriage at this time of history, Dymphna was courted by many Irish nobles. Yet she chose to dedicate herself as a consecrated virgin – completely dedicated to the will of Christ and his Blessed Mother, Mary. Not too long after this consecration, Dymphana’s mother passed away. Dymphana’s close relationship with Christ greatly assisted her during this time of loss.
Heartbroken over the loss of his beloved wife, Dymphana’s father sent out word in hopes to find a lady similar to his first wife in terms of beauty and strength. After much searching through Ireland and other countries, his messengers said that they could not find anyone who would even compare to the late queen…except the king’s own daughter, Princess Dymphana.
The king brought the proposition to Dymphna, who was obviously shocked. Attempting to distract and prolong her father’s decision, she asked for a forty day period in which to consider the proposal. She turned to her spiritual director, who told her to leave Ireland as soon as possible.
It did not take long, however, for her father to discover her escape. Not too long after, the King’s soldiers located the refugees in Belgium. When the King arrived at the location of his daughter’s hiding place, he attempted to persuade her to come back and be his bride. Dymphna denied the wish, and angered her father greatly. He called for the death of her spiritual director, who had been traveling with her. The priest was beheaded at that very location in front of Dymphna. Shocked and angered at her father’s cruel actions, she condemned his sin and spoke out in an evangelistic tone. The King became angry at his daughter, drew a dagger and beheaded his own child. She was 15 years old at the time of her death sometime in the years between 620 and 640.
The bodies of Dymphna and her spiritual director were untouched until nearby townspeople moved them to a nearby cave (as was the burial custom of the time). Years later, after remembering the occurrence of their deaths, the townspeople went to the cave only to find two beautiful tombs, whose appearance could only be explained by a miraculous event. There was a church erected over the original burial places of the two martyrs. The place has been renowned for cures of people struggling with nervous disorders and mental diseases.
By Chloe M.
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