St Barbara Zagariete healing oil
The St Barbara Zagariete healing oil is dedicated to the saint from Žagarė, Lithuania. According to oral history, Barbara distinguished herself by her Christian virtues. She died young under obscure circumstances. Her remains were said to be incorruptible. This inspired a strong following among local people. Numerous miracles are attributed to her.
Local people tell stories about her care for the sick and generosity for beggars. Also, she would intercede on behalf of serfs and walk to the church on her knees. It is said that her exceptional piousness and devotion to God displeased and angered her father. She wanted to become a nun, and even joined a Franciscan monastery in Riga. However, her non-believer father would not allow it. She jumped out of the second floor of the manor to escape her father’s wrath, and died of injuries
Barbara was first buried either in Žvelgaičiai or Umiastowski family crypt. However, due to growing veneration of Barbara, her body was moved to the old church of Žagarė. In 1655, during the Second Northern War, Sweden invaded Lithuania and burned down the church. Barbara’s body and hair was blackened. Otherwise, it was untouched by the flames. As a result, her cult grew stronger.
Tsarist authorities discouraged Catholicism and walled up the crypt in 1877. It was reopened in 1896. The remains were put in a glass coffin in the crypt beneath the high altar. In 1906 an entrance was made to the crypt from outside to ease access. However, in 1963, authorities of the Lithuanian SSR closed the church. They transferred the remains to an unknown location. Efforts to locate the remains were unsuccessful. When the church was returned to the congregation, a symbolic casket was placed in the same crypt.
Local people venerated Barbara as if she were a saint. It was common to circle her coffin three times on knees. Her cult merged with that of Saint Barbara. The women shared not only name but also similar life stories. Local people celebrated the feast of Barbara Žagarietė on 4 December. They sang hymns that initially meant for St. Barbara. In November 2004, the Bishop of Šiauliai, sent a request to the Holy See to begin the beatification and canonization for Žagarietė. In May 2005, the Holy See replied that there were no obstacles in initiating the case; it was officially opened by Bishop Bartulis on 24 September 2005. In 2006, a group of nine scientists was dispatched on an expedition to find and collect information on Žagarietė.
St Barbara Zagariete healing oil/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. 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.