Sister, I was going to ask about the Patron Saint for psychiatrists and I googled it and came up with Saint Dymphna? is that right...
When were you going to ask? Oh! You are doing it now!
Yes, that's correct. But in my opinion, it's not really right. St. Dymphna is the patron saint for everything 'crazy' from any type of mental illness to sleepwalking and therefore for the people who treat the people who sleep walk and/or have mental illnesses.
And while I won't argue with the wisdom of the Church on Dymphna's assignment, I don't think she's the best candidate for most of this, for the most part. The reason poor Dymphna is the patron saint of craziness is because her father was crazy. He went right off the deep end when his beautiful wife died. He suddenly realized that his beautiful daughter looked just like his beautiful departed wife and decided Dymphna should replace his spouse. Dymphna ran away with the help of the parish priest but her father pursued her to the ends of the earth--or at least, what he and Dymphna and the priest knew of the earth. Dad caught up with his daughter and killed her and the priest.
What a sad mess. Poor Dymphna.
But by this logic, St. Barbara could also be the patron saint of crazy people. Her crazy father killed her, too. Barbara's father went off the deep end with the idea of what might happen to his beautiful daughter at the hands of men, so he locked her in a tower, like Rapunzel. Barbara made the best of it, while her father went off to war or something like that, she had some workmen cut a third window into her tower to represent the Holy Trinity. When her father returned he was convinced that she had the window for men to access. He dragged Barbara out and killed her.
St. Barbara is not the patron saint of crazy people. She is the patron saint evoked against lightening and the patron saint of fireworks and firefighters. That's because when her father killed her, he was instantly felled by a big bolt of lightening. She should be the patron saint of 'when someone needs to be smited by lightening", but she isn't.
I propose a different saint for psychiatrists. What does a psychiatrist do? He tries to help straighten out other people's issues by listening and talking things out and listening some more and sometimes he might even have to be a little stern. But he must always maintain his compassion and understanding. Enter St. Catherine of Sienna!
St. Catherine is a doctor, one of only three women who have earned the title "Doctor of the Church". She lived during a time when the Papacy had moved to France, but back in Italy, no one was happy with that, so there was a Pope in France and Pope in Italy. St. Catherine tirelessly wrote to all parties, trying to get someone to step down. When that failed, a new Pope was named. Then there were three Popes and no one would step down.
Did Catherine succeed? Yes and no. She did succeed in convincing Pope Gregory to return the Papacy to Rome. But after his death there was a great schism, known as the Great Western Schism complete with anti-popes and war and queens siding with anti-popes. A sad mess. St. Catherine was relentless in her zeal for reconciliation, and although she was not successful there, she did succeed in becoming a person whose opinion was solicited by cardinals and kings. She was not afraid to speak truth to power.
So here you have a great saint who was good at pointing out to people that they were not acting any anyone's best interest and encouraged everyone to talk it out and reconcile their problems. She often spoke to their psychological motivations. Here is what she said to the Queen of Naples who was accused of murdering her husband and who was backing the anti-popes: "You know that you do ill, but like a sick and passionate woman, you let yourself be guided by your passions."
I'll let our readers weigh in. They often have some wonderful patron saint match ups of their own.