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(Painting by William Hart McNichols © frbillmcnichols-sacredimages.com; Photo by Paris Hajizadeh Amini/Los Angeles Times; Insplash and Getty Images)
Who Is The Patron Saint Of Anxiety
Elena Zuniga wasn’t looking for a patron saint of anxiety, depression and mental illness, but St. Dymphna got it anyway.
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First, a small cent charm appeared in her jewelry box without explanation. Dymphna then dropped a prayer card of the saint from the book she had taken by mistake. Dampney
And one morning in 2019 after coming to a meeting about a new mental health service in St. Louis. In Yorba Linda, Zuniga, Martin de Porres soon found himself serving as one of the two co-leaders of St. Louis. Dymphna’s Disciples – A group that works to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness in the church and supports those suffering from mental illness.
“I didn’t design the name and I didn’t set out to lead the group,” said Zuniga, 49, a licensed marriage and family therapist and art therapist. “But it’s like she’s pushing me along and saying, ‘Hey, it’s needed here.’
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According to Catholic teaching, St. Dymphna was born in Ireland in the seventh century. When her mother died, her father tried to marry off his own daughter. He chases Demphna to Belgium and then kills her when she rejects his advances.
When his remains were rediscovered 600 years after his death, they were believed to be able to cure those who were mad or possessed. A chapel was built in his honor. Since then, he has been known as the patron saint of people suffering from nervous disorders.
Saint Demphna’s popularity has waxed and waned over the centuries, but as rates of anxiety and depression have risen in recent years due to global warming, political upheaval and the COVID-19 crisis, it is experiencing a renaissance. It has to be done. “Damphana groups” are being formed in many parishes across the country, and “Damphana” is becoming an increasingly common confirmation name for young teenage girls, as a sign of acceptance of the new generation.
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“It’s becoming more popular because we need it,” Zuniga said. “Look at the state of mental health around the world. We are in a crisis of the soul.”
Elena Zuniga, left, lights a candle while Cheri Ibanez looks on in the chapel of St. Louis. Martin de Porres in Yorba Linda. Zuniga and Ibanez, both marriage and family therapists, co-lead St. Dymphna’s Disciples is one of a growing number of mental health ministries in Southern California.
This month, parishes in Southern California are offering a novena, or nine days of intentional prayer, to St. Demphena before their feast on Sunday as part of a recent effort to create a more welcoming environment for those with mental illness. of
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Although the church changed its teaching on suicide in 1992 — encouraging Catholics to pray for those who take their own lives and allowing them to be buried in Catholic cemeteries — it still has work to do. Much remains to be done to ensure that all parishes have the tools to support them. Experts said that people who suffer from depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders.
An expert on the history of mental illness says the psychiatric profession must ‘stop pretending that chemistry is the only way forward’.
“Often people with these illnesses think they are unwanted by God and the community,” said Deacon Ed Shoener, founder of the Assn. Catholic Ministers of Mental Health. “We all face these issues, and if we don’t have a mental illness ourselves, we’re close to someone who does.”
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When Schooner’s teenage daughter showed symptoms of bipolar disorder, the Catholic Church was one of the last places she thought she should look for help. “The church didn’t understand these diseases very well,” he said. “There was stigma, uncertainty and fear about responding to these illnesses. We can do better and the church is better.”
The pace of change has accelerated in recent years. In 2018, the bishops of California, along with scientists and health care professionals, issued a pastoral letter acknowledging the staggering scale of the mental health crisis in the United States and the church’s role in addressing it. .
In 2020, the same group announced a statewide initiative called Caring for the Whole Person to help parishes provide community support and health resources to individuals and families. Last year, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles trained more than 100 church leaders in mental health first aid.
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“Many people go to church looking for spiritual guidance, and 1 in 5 of them have a mental health problem,” said Michael Donaldson, senior director of the archdiocesan Office for Life, Justice and Peace. “Our goal is to train parish leaders to better walk with people, guide them and be resources for them.”
Ray Martinez (right) and Martha Olivares recite the rosary with other participants at the St. Dimfna in April.
When people first come to a meeting of disciples of St. Dampney, Zuniga and her co-chair Cheri Padilla give them a “bag of hope” — a small bag containing a rosary, holy water and prayer cards for St. Louis. Dampna and St. The soul of God. Also includes a card listing free mental health resources in Orange County – crisis hotlines, suicide hotlines and phone numbers for the Department of Health and Human Services.
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Martha Olivares, who attended a recent meeting of the disciples of St. Dampney, she said she believed in science and also in prayer and miracles.
“Especially in recent years, it’s okay to admit that you or a family member needs counseling.” “It’s a way of bringing him into the spiritual realm.
“It was her father who was mentally ill, not Demphna,” said William Hart McNichols, the priest and sculptor who painted St. Louis. Dampana looks at you like, ‘Oh, help me’.
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St. Dymphna, the patron saint of mental health, appears in a double exposure as Ray Martinez recites the rosary during a meeting of St. Louis disciples. Dampney
As legend has it, Dymphna was born in Ireland to a pagan king and a Christian mother. Her mother died when she was 14, and her father went mad with grief. He vowed to marry a woman as beautiful as his first wife. When none was found, he decided to marry his daughter.
When Dymphna hears of his plan, she flees Ireland with a priest, two servants, and the king’s fool. The group hid in the town of Gale in what is now Belgium, but Damfin’s father tracked them down and captured them. He orders the priest’s head to be beheaded and tries to persuade Damfin to return to Ireland and marry him. When she refused, he drew his sword and beheaded her. She was only 15 years old.
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At the time Dymphna’s remains were found, she developed a reputation for curing people suffering from epilepsy and mental illness, who were then believed to be possessed by the devil.
Church in honor of St. Demphni were built in Gili in the 1300s, and eventually so many people with mental health problems flocked to the church that residents began to take them into their homes, and homes for the mentally ill. Started a tradition of care that continues to this day. City today. An infirmary was also established where patients could be admitted if they became completely incontinent or became ill.
“In recent years, it’s especially true that you or a family member needs counseling,” says Martha Olivares. “It’s a way of bringing him into the spiritual realm.
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“The real miracle of Demfna is how the people of Gili have answered this special call for centuries to welcome people with mental health issues into their city,” Schoener said. “Welcoming people and fully integrating them into the community is a movement.”
Today, Dymphna is known as the patron saint of nervous disorders and mental illness, depression and incest, but she is not the only saint who can help the faithful in times of mental distress. Those seeking holy intercession can choose from a pantheon of holy helpers.
Some may turn to the loving mother of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe, who appeared to the Aztec convert St. Louis. Juan Diego, or St. John of God in Mexico, who spent time in a mental hospital in Spain before ministering to the poor and sick. .
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Saint Oscar Romero, who risked his life defending human rights in El Salvador and became a victim of civil war, has reportedly been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD. Mother Teresa spent most of her life suffering from severe depression and the feeling that God had abandoned her.
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