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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tossing and Turning

Sister, is there a patron saint of people who have trouble falling asleep at night?

There is a patron saint for sleep disorders. That would be St. Dymphna, the patron saint of crazy people, and by extrapolation all sorts of problems and disorders, including sleepwalking and therefore, sleep problems.

I don't think St. Dymphna is the girl for you.

I think we have to figure out why you are not falling asleep. Whatever is it, I'm sure there is a patron saint for it.

Fear of the dark? St. Giles. I really can't quite determine why that happened to St. Giles. He was a hermit. But he was also a miracle worker and many people sought him out. He hid farther and farther in the forest and so deprived himself that God sent him a deer for milk. That's her in the picture there. One day the king and his hunters tried to shoot that deer, but they missed and hit Giles leaving him forever crippled. In the picture there, it's just his hand with an arrow or something sticking out of it. I think he got hit in the leg.

After that, the king and Giles became great friends and more and more people found Giles until he had a whole monastery going and so many sick people came that a hospital sprang up.

I don't know where the fear of the night comes in there. Maybe since he was so deep in the woods.

I digress.

Maybe you have some kind of physical pain that's keeping you awake. My mother is having this chronic neck pain that is wrecking her sleep. For neck pain, we look to St. Blaise. If the pain is in your leg, you can look to St. Giles.

Be specific!

The most common cause of insomnia is worry. There are two heavy hitters in the worry department: the patron saints against doubt, St. Joseph and St. Thomas, forever known as "Doubting Thomas", poor guy.

There are even specific saints for what you may be worried about. Losing your hair? St. Cosmos and Damian, the patron saints of hairdressers. Worried about money? The Infant of Prague. Rotten husband? St. Rita Unruly teens? St. Monica.

Be specific!

And when you figure it all out and are sleeping peacefully, you can call on the patron saint of sweet dreams, St. Raphael. Or, if you finally fall asleep only to be plagued by nightmares, that's St. Raphael, too. Either way, he'll help you.

Just yesterday we were talking about the myriad of saints and how much that is to think about and why we love our saints so much. I think somewhere in there a reader mentioned that even Catholics can choose to ignore the saints if they wish.

Absolutely true! Jesus has a few choice words about worry:

"But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?"


Julia said...

St. Peter, St. James, and St. John had no problems falling asleep!

There's also the little boy who falls asleep and falls out the window. I think that's in Acts.

Upon-Request.com said...

I'm so glad I stumbled upon your site - if not, I would have never learned that there was a patron saint for the crazy...

Anonymous said...

You could always count saints instead of sheep. Memorize all of them alphabetically. By the time you get to M you will be deeply asleep.

Anonymous said...

I've always liked the story of St. Dymphna. When I first heard it, it sounded remarkably like the fairy tale "Donkey-Skin" that my grandmother read to me when I was little. (Although St. Dymphna meets a much more gruesome end than Donkey-Skin does.)

Can you tell me how to pronounce Dymphna?

Anonymous said...

Say the rosary is my advice.....works every time

Nancy said...

Oh Sister, how glad I am to have found your site. May I please ask one favor? Would you consider adding the "gadget" to allow subscription via email? I am disabled and do not get much time on line. It is so much easier to follow a great blog when new posts come right to my inbox. Thank you for considering this. Now, from the initials I put at the top, can you tell by which Order I was taught my entire life? I do not recognize your habit. Which Order are you? Bless you for this blog. I found you while searching for the Patron Saint of Insomniacs. With the pain of fibromyalgia also comes insomnia. I can be sleepy in my recliner but the minute I get into bed, I am wide awake. My Rosary is my constant companion once I do get in bed but I find myself awake an hour or two later, just adding more decades. I am SO tired.

Anonymous said...

Hello ,
I'm a psychologist and unless as you mentioned sister , there's a phyical pain, sleeplessness is an anxiety problem. Saint Dymphna is the saint of nervous afflictions and mental disorders . I pray to her for myself, family and clients. M

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the information, Sister. As a licensed counselor, I would ask that you use a word other than "crazy" to describe those with mental illness. "Crazy" seems a pejorative term.

Thank you for your consideration of my request.