Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 54–61 | Cite as

Saints and psychiatry

  • Ruben D. Rumbaut
Article

Summary

The Irish Saint Dympna, a distant and misty figure, with her martyrdom inspired a millenary tradition of family and community care for the mentally ill at Geel, in Belgium. She is the Catholic patron of the mentally afflicted.

The French Saint Vincent de Paul, a powerful leader, took care of the insane and the poor in gentle ways; worked for reforms in hospitals, education, delinquency, and penology; founded religious orders dedicated to the sick; and set in motion the hospitals of La Salpêtrière and Le Bicêtre.

The portuguese-Spaniard Saint John of God, a humble shepherd, a marginal soldier, an ignorant construction worker, and a modest salesman of books, has had more relevance to psychiatry than has Dympna, the martyr, or Vincent de Paul, the social reformer. No other saint has had more practical and sustained influence on hospital psychiatry than he, and it is a mystery of sorts that his name still awaits the distinguished place of honor it so richly deserves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Aring, C. D., The Geel Experience,J. Am. Med. Assoc., 1974,230, No. 7.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Annual Report for the Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 1971, New York State Psychiatric Institute and the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, to the New York Department of Mental Hygiene. Utica, New York, State Hospitals Press, 1971, p. 102.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Morrisey, J. R., The Case for Family Care of the Mentally Ill,Community Mental Health Journal, Monograph Series No. 2, 1967.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Annual Report, op. cit. New York State Psychiatric Institute and the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, to the New York Department of Mental Hygiene. Utica, New York, State Hospitals Press, 1971, p. 105.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Willigan, L., Saint Vincent de Paul: the Social Worker. In Kovacs, A. F.,Saint Vincent de Paul. Thought Patterns, vol. 9. Jamaica, New York, St. John's University Press, 1961, p. 59.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Daniel-Rops, H.,Monsieur Vincent, New York, Hawthorn Books, 1961, p. 80.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Woodgate, M. V.,Saint Vincent de Paul, Westminister, Maryland, Newman Press, 1958, p. 105.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Collier's Encyclopedia. New York, Crowell Collier Publishing Co., 1962,18, 57. See also: Ellenberger, H. F.,The Discovery of the Unconscious. New York, Basic Books, 1970, pp. 96, 101, 102, 436.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Roback, A. A.,History of Psychology and Psychiatry, New York, Philosophical Library, 1961, p. 253.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Lombroso, C.,L'uomo di genio in rapporto alla Psichiatria, alla Storia ed all' Estetica, Torino, Italy, Bocca, 1894, 6a edizione.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    McMahon, Brother N.,The Story of the Hospitallers of St. John of God. Westminster, Maryland, Newman Press, 1958.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Alvarez Sierra, J.,Influencia de San Juan de Dios y de su Orden en el Progreso de la Medicina y de la Cirugía. Madrid, Spain, Talleres Argos, 1950, p. 79.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Ramírez-Bayona, Rev. Brother A. M., Barcelona, Spain, personal communication.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Institutes of Religion and Health 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruben D. Rumbaut
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Therapeutic Community Unit of the Veterans Administration Hospital in Houston
  2. 2.Psychiatry, Baylor College of MedicineHouston

Personalised recommendations