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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ask Sister Mary Martha's Readers

Our readers are lovely people with great questions and even better responses. Sometimes I don't bother answering when someone Asks Sister Mary Martha, because someone in the comments section has covered it for me, and quite nicely. And often people write in with corrections and additions to whatever I've had to say.

So today, I turn to our readers to ask you all a question. I need help!

In the shop we sell St. Dymphna. St. Dymphna is the patron for the mentally unbalanced and sleepwalkers, but because she has that distinction, every kind of off kilter, 'you're not normal' issue a person can have has also been glommed onto her.

And St. Dymphna had no mental or neurological problems. Her father did. She didn't even sleepwalk.

So, I've never felt that St. Dymphna really was a good patron saint for mental illness, rather, she was the victim of someone who was mentally ill.

All this time in the shop, and the shop has been around for many years now, we've billed St. Dymphna as the "Crazy People, St. Dymphna".  She sells like hot cakes.  I went round and round with how to bill her, since she has so many patronages and came up with 'crazy people' because she is more the patron saint for the off kilter (in my opinion) than serious mental illness.

I never thought that calling someone crazy (in jest) was a bad thing. Or saying, "Well, that's just crazy."  Crazy is a useful word.

But from time to time I receive a diatribe from someone who is deeply offended that I would use that word in reference to the mentally ill. I don't, actually, since I actually don't recommend St. Dymphna for actual mental illness,  but it looks like a do.  'Crazy' is a good bucket word for the not normal,l given there really is no such thing as normal.  There is. But there isn't. We all understand this.

When I was a child, one of my favorite things to eat was sauerkraut on top of mashed potatoes with ketchup on top. If there was no ketchup, the whole thing was totally unappealing to me. Not normal.

I'm at a loss as to how to bill St. Dymphna.  I don't want to offend anyone and their points are well taken.  I also don't really agree with their well taken points.  So I come to you, dear readers. Any ideas for a new billing for good old St. Dymphna? Patron saint of the not normal isn't very catchy.


23 comments:

bearing said...

Neurologically atypical?

Ladytats said...

ST Vincent of Saragossa 6 feet

How about using for ST Dymphna "Mental and Emotional distress, sleepwalking, incest"

Anonymous said...

How about caller her the patron saint of the kooky?

Cam said...

Eccentric?

Deo volente said...

The marvelous Saints.SQPN.com lists the following for Saint Dymphna:


http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-dymphna/

against sleepwalking, against epilepsy, against insanity, against mental disorders, against mental illness, epileptics, family happiness, incest victims, loss of parents, martyrs, mental asylums, mental health caregivers, mental health professionals, mental hospitals, mentally ill people, nervous disorders, neurological disorders, possessed people, princesses, psychiatrists, rape victims, runaways, sleepwalkers, therapists

I should think that a listing that includes "Patroness of sadness, mental distress, mental disorders, anxiety, depression and of those who treat individuals which such conditions" would be a fairly accurate for one who wishes to intercede to her. She is the Saint who will intercede for mental health problems!

D.v.

Anonymous said...

Patroness of encephalitic malfunctions.

Melissa said...

I have a mental illness. And when it hits I call myself crazy. To be clear, most of the time I am perfectly sane, but when the illness strikes, I go off my rocker.

Sometimes you need to call a spade a spade. Most people with mental illness aren't crazy all the time, but they do have their moments.

You know what though? People who don't have mental illness have their crazy moments too. All of us are a little crazy at times. Crazy ain't a bad word. It's just a description, and it is only a slur if you let it be one. The perpetually aggrieved don't have to have the last word on this one.

Maureen said...

Funny how aware you become, of titles/descriptions/phrases/advertisements that shout out "MADNESS"
My beloved eldest daughter is suffering from a serious mental illness; we, her family have all suffered deeply with her.
I would like there to be a kind and gentle saint to comfort those who are afflicted, and to comfort their mothers as well. And I don't think St Dymphna would do it for me - I want a strong and healthy saint who is in a better position to cope than I am.

El Salero said...

What about St Dymphna - patron saint for those who have a family member with a mental illness or sleep walking issues. You can't choose your relations but you can pray to St Dymphna.

Regards, El-Salero
He and I and me... blog author at:
http://www.heandiandme.com/

Anonymous said...

How about Caretaker of the mentally and emotionally distressed?

Claudia said...

Patron saint for those affected by someone mentally imbalanced.

Anonymous said...

After reading the list above, I was thinking perhaps listing her as the protector or the consoler of people with "issues". She is also the patron of so many other people besides those with mental problems, (including princesses) and,as you said,Sister, she herself was not "crazy". Personally, as someone who has some "mental issues" I don't mind the word crazy, either.

mph said...

Patron saint of quirkiness.

Bethany said...

We always call that kind of not really mentally ill just kind of "crazy", having issues. Have you got ISSUES? You need St. Dymphna. :)

Gigi said...

Lovely post Sister MM. How about Patron Saint of Quirks? Actually here in the UK there's an old snobby phrase about being "not quite the ticket". It's very much identified as being a intended cover-all put-down from those who feel they're paragons of virtue, style or class, towards those who would somehow threaten their presentation of "normal". St Dymphna of The Not Quite The Ticket has a very fittingly eccentric ring to t for me. And one man's crazy is another man's regular. (I still eat mash with sauerkraut; never tried it with ketchup but of course I will now...) x

Anonymous said...

First, thank you for this blog.
I give a second to Melissa's comments above. Every person, "normal" or not, is sometimes definitely not normal -- crazy. I've heard the word crazy used in a more exclamatory, positive way, also, so....
I always find St. Dymphna's story so difficult that I sort of skip past it when I read lives of the saints.
This line is from the St. Jude's Novena, so I don't know if he's intended to be patron of this cause, but if he's not, someone needs to be: "Let us pray that all people be given the mental and emotional strength to live in peace and love under the strain of modern living."
Patron against the strain of modern living? I bet you could sell a bucket full of those....

Nan said...

I firmly believe we're all crazy, each in our own special way.

Anonymous said...

I like anonymous' suggestion - "Saint of mental and emotional strength". We all need that daily in this world.

Hazel Shepherd said...

I think you answered your own question....the Saint for the off Kilter....

My question: I tend to run my mouth and say more than I need to.....who is the patron Saint of those who talk to much?
Hazel

Donna said...

Just call it crazy and call it a day. You can't please everyone!!

Anonymous said...

Patron saint of the troubled?

Larry said...

I like the more positive approach, "The Patron of Mental Health" which takes in her family situation and coping with the myriad of problems that beset us all.

Kathy said...

I like Saint of mental and emotional health.