During the summer when school is not in session I used to work in the garden center of a local retail store, which was a pleasant break from the rigors and stresses of the academic year.
One afternoon I cashed out a very friendly older woman, but when I wished her a “good evening” she shook her head and, still smiling, said “I never have good evenings these days.” “I’m sorry to hear that,” I replied “why don’t you have good evenings?” “Because my husband has Alzheimer’s.” All I could think to say was “I’m so sorry.” It was only after she left that it occurred to me I should have said, “I’ll pray for you.”
As it happens, I did pray for her and her husband at the time, and again that night with my family during prayer time. I have often remembered this incident over the intervening years. I mention it today because this is the feast day of St. Dymphna, patron saint of sufferers of mental illness (including Alzheimer’s) and their families.
I invite all of you to say a prayer along with us for this couple, and for all who are afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease or other mental illnesses and their families, asking for the intercession of St. Dymphna:
Lord, our God, you graciously chose St. Dymphna as patroness of those afflicted with mental and nervous disorders and Spiritual afflictions. She is thus an inspiration and a symbol of charity to the thousands who ask her intercession.
Please grant, Lord, through the prayers of this pure youthful martyr, relief and consolation to all suffering such trials, and especially those for whom we pray: Sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease and their families.
We beg you, Lord, to hear the prayers of St. Dymphna on our behalf. Grant all those for whom we pray patience in their sufferings and resignation to your divine will. Please fill them with hope, and grant them the relief and cure they so much desire.
We ask this through Christ our Lord who suffered agony in the garden. Amen.
You can read more about St. Dymphna HERE at catholic.org.
Featured image top of page: Martyrdom of St Dymphna and St Gerebernus by Jacques de l’Ange (Attr.) or Gerard Seghers (Attr.), early 1600’s