Year of Youth 2018

Saints Who Suffered from Depression

Last edited 13th August 2014

Saints Who Suffered from Depression

With the topic of depression very much in the news this week, it seems a good time to remember that even the holiest of people have suffered from periods of despair, including St. John Vianney, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and St. Dymphna.

  • St. John Vianney: The famous Cure of the tiny French village of Ars, is most popularly known as the holy and humble priest who spent sixteen to eighteen hours a day hearing confessions and giving advice to long processions of people. What is less known is the overwhelming depression that weighed upon John Vianney’s soul without relief his entire life. Though he was the most sought-after man in all of France, he seemed incapable of seeing the immense amount of good he was doing. Whenever the tempests of depression seemed to have enough power to drown him in the vision of his own miseries, the Cure would bow his head, throw himself before God like “a dog at the feet of his master,” and allow the storm to pass without changing his resolve to love and serve God if he could.
  • St. Elizabeth Ann Seton: Young Elizabeth Ann was lonely and melancholy, and faced periods of depression with thoughts of suicide during adolescence. Journaling, music and enjoying God’s gifts of the seashore, shells, and nature helped her to cope.
  • St. Dymphna: St. Dymphna was the daughter of a powerful king in 7th century Ireland. After suffering the loss of her mother, Dymphna was horrified to learn that her own father had designs to marry her. She escaped to a little village named Gheel, which is now known as a celebrated refuge and place of healing for those suffering from all forms of mental illness. She is the patron saint for those whose who suffer from anxiety and depression.
Visit this article to learn more about these holy men and women who suffered from depression.

A Prayer to St. Dymphna

Good Saint Dymphna, great wonder-worker in every affliction of mind and body, I humbly implore your powerful intercession with Jesus through Mary, the Health of the Sick, in my present need. (Mention it.)

Saint Dymphna, martyr of purity, patroness of those who suffer with nervous and mental afflictions, beloved child of Jesus and Mary, pray to Them for me and obtain my request.

(Pray one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be.)

Saint Dymphna, Virgin and Martyr, pray for us.


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Tara McInnes
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Tara McInnes wrote at 9:04am on August 15th 2014
Before any self righteous religious person points the finger at Robin Williams or others who have died by their own hand, have they themselves met their neighbour in need? Especially in Churches and other community places. When was the last time the finger pointer has taken a casserole to an unmarried person? When was the last time they offered to check their plumbing? When did they last ask the young mother or father out for coffee or invite them to dinner? When did they offer to babysit a young couples kids so the couple could have a 'date night'? When did they invite a person on their own over for Christmas/Easter and make sure they weren't alone at Mass!!! THIS IS ALL RELATED, ok one size doesn't fit all, but we need to stop palming depressed people off to shrinks and medications without doing a bit of community outreach (in a non patronising way) first.
Mary B
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Mary B wrote at 10:36pm on August 17th 2014
Well said Tara.
Advent