St Amandina healing oil
The St Amandina healing oil is dedicated to the Belgian Franciscan missionary sister and martr in China. A simple, joyful, generous, truly Franciscan nun. Her good humour and easily relationships attracted and created around her a homely atmosphere of joyous serenity.
Her Early Life
She was born on 28 December 1872 at Herk-la-Ville, in Belgium. Daughter of simple parents and courageous Christians who worked hard to bring up a boy and six girls of whom four dedicated themselves to God.
When she was only seven years old, Amandina had already lost her mother. Until the age of fifteen she was placed with a neighbour woman (Celis-Jans). Thereafter she stayed for two years with the family Van Schoonbeek-Jans.
She attended primary school with the sisters Ursulines in Herk-de-Stad. In 1886 she was serving with the Sisters of Love congregation in Sint-Truiden, which also allowed her to study. Her elder sister Marie had already joined this congregation and her two-years-older sister Rosalie also had already worked there for two years.
On 2 August 1892 she went to Hasselt to assist the household of her sister Anna, struck by illness and widowed with four children.
She entered the Institute of Franciscan Missionaries of Mary with the name Marie Amandine. Her first assignment was to Marseilles to nurse the sick. Then her second was in Taiyuan to work in the mission hospital. Her humor and joyfulness gained for her the esteem of the Chinese, who called her “the laughing foreigner”.
St Amandina’s Death
In the course of the Boxer Rebellion, an edict was issued on 1 July 1900 which, in substance, said that the time of good relations with European missionaries and their Christians was now past: that the former must be repatriated at once and the faithful forced to apostatize, on penalty of death.
When she heard the news that a persecution was approaching. With true Franciscan joy she and her companions met their deaths singing the Te Deum, the hymn of thanksgiving.
Seven sisters, including St Marie Amandina, were martyred on 9 July 1900 and were canonized on 1 October 2000 along with other Martyr Saints of China
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 applies the oil and blesses themselves. 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. Prayer and a gesture of faith, like applying the oil, are important ways for us to express our faith in God’s power. By doing so we place our trust in God.