Mysterious help from a centuries-old saint

In college, I was a stressed-out and overcommitted student. In addition to a heavy course load, my jam-packed schedule included campus ministry, student government, a few committees, play rehearsals and graduate school applications.

Apr 24, 2014

By Katharine Talalas
In college, I was a stressed-out and overcommitted student. In addition to a heavy course load, my jam-packed schedule included campus ministry, student government, a few committees, play rehearsals and graduate school applications.

In hindsight, I probably kept busy because I didn’t have the slightest idea of what God wanted from me. Not yet out of my teens, I nevertheless felt pressured to have it all figured out. It seemed wise to explore all possible options so that this expensive undertaking called college would be purposeful.

Like many adolescents, I was especially anxious about finding my way and purpose – unaware that, for most people, it is a lifelong journey. Though college is a social whirlwind, it can also be a very lonely place. Reading and intensive study require some physical isolation, but mental isolation incidentally results.

When you are physically distant from the people who knew you from childhood, you become mentally distant from the person you used to be when you were with them. Overall, it is a good thing to expand your mind and form your conscience as an adult. But the process of deciding what you really think and believe -- perhaps for the first time -- brings with it a great deal of uncertainty.

Into this haze of anxiety and confusion came St Dymphna. To give a little background, in college my catechesis was somewhat sketchy and I didn’t know a whole lot about the saints. St Jude, famed patron of hopeless causes, was my trusty standby (to angst-filled teenagers, every problem seems hopeless). I had certainly never heard of an obscure seventh-century Irish virgin and martyr, largely forgotten by most Catholics.

Yet I didn’t need to know about her because St. Dymphna knew about me. She showed up one day while I was home for a weekend visit. While packing my belongings to head back to campus, I spotted something shiny on the floor near my dresser.

Upon closer inspection it was a little flat, metallic oval, with a portrait of a young woman and the name “St Dymphna” stamped on its front.

The medal had appeared in my bedroom seemingly out of nowhere. When I asked my mother if it was hers, she said she had never seen it before, and neither had my father or brother. The medal travelled back with me to my dormitory. I unpacked my laptop and typed “St Dymphna” into Google.

I found that St Dymphna was the patron of anxiety sufferers. Immediately, I dissolved into a flood of happy tears. This time, St. Dymphna’s startling overture instantly restored my hope and trust in God’s goodness. For the first time in months, I felt that my prayers were heard.

Reading on, bleary-eyed, I found that this lovely Irish princess was only 15 when she was martyred by her mentally unstable father. Her sweetness, piety, chastity and fervent devotion to God had earned her the name “Lily of Fire.”

St Dymphna’s compassion for the mentally ill and intercession on their behalf has resulted in many miraculous cures. For those who suffer from anxiety or nervousness, St Dymphna is with them through their crises, large or small. Her support helps them stay sane in the face of their fear.

Some think that saints are for the old-fashioned, but help from above never goes out of style, even with the young. Anytime we beget a saint, we have more help from above to intercede for us during difficult times.

St Dymphna was my patron throughout college, and has remained so in young adulthood. Today, I thank God for sending me a companion to help me in my distress, one who also looks at His face all of the time. He gave me the best friend I could ask for.

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Chris Realmccaff@gmail.com
Thanks 4 sharing your story! She came to me by way of 13 medals one was Gold colored all others silver. God is good.