St Alphonsus Liquoiri healing oil
Bishop, Doctor of the Church, and the founder of the Redemptorist Congregation. Raised in a pious home, Alphonsus went on retreats with his father, Don Joseph. Alphonsus was raised by a devout mother. By age nineteen he was practicing law. But he saw the transitory nature of the secular world. Visiting the local Hospital for Incurables in 1723, he had a vision and was told to consecrate his life solely to God.
In response, Alphonsus dedicated himself to the religious life. He finally agreed to become a priest but to live at home as a member of a group of secular missionaries. Alphonsus was ordained on December 21, 1726. Then he spent six years giving missions throughout Naples. There he met Bishop Thomas Falcoia, founder of the Congregation of Pious Workers. This lifelong friendship aided Alphonsus, as did his association with a mystic, Sister Mary Celeste. With their aid, Aiphonsus founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer on November 9, 1732.
The foundation faced immediate problems. After just one year, Alphonsus found himself with only one lay brother. He started again. New members were recruited. In 1743 he became the prior of two new congregations, one for men and one for women. Pope Benedict XIV gave his approval for the men’s congregation in 1749 and for the women’s in 1750. Alphonsus was preaching missions in the rural areas and writing. He had to accept the papal command to accept the see of St Agatha near Naples.
For thirteen years Alphonsus fed the poor. In addition, he instructed families, reorganized the seminary and religious houses. He taught theology, and wrote. His austerities were rigorous. He suffered daily from rheumatism that was beginning to deform his body. Ultimately, he spent several years having to drink from tubes. An attack of rheumatic fever, from May 1768 to June 1769, left him paralyzed. In 1780, Alphonsus was tricked into signing a submission for royal approval of his congregation. This submission altered the original rule, and as a result Alphonsus was denied any authority among the Redemptorists. Deposed and excluded from his own congregation, Alphonsus suffered great anguish. In time, he overcame his depression. He experienced visions, performed miracles, and gave prophecies. St Alphonsus died peacefully on August 1,1787.
Tradition of oils
The tradition of anointing with sacred oil is very old indeed. It is used in sacraments and also as a devotional practice. The sick person is invited to apply oil on the part of their body they want healed. As they do so, they are asked to pray to whomever the oil is dedicated to. The Irish blessings oils do not have miraculous power. It is God who has the power to heal. Applying the oil while praying are important ways for us to express our faith in God’s power. Moreover, by doing so we place our trust in God.