St Mafalda healing oil
The St Mafalda healing oil is dedicated to the Portuguese infanta (princess). During her life she became Queen consort of Castile for a brief period. Married briefly to the ten-year-old Henry I of Castile, she held for a time the title Queen of Castile. Upon the dissolution of the marriage, she retired to religious life.
1215, a political marriage was arranged between Mafalda and her young cousin Henry I of Castile. As he was about ten years old, the marriage was never consummated, and it was dissolved the following year on grounds of consanguinity. She returned to Portugal.
Mafalda then entered the Abbey of Arouca, which had adopted the Cistercian observance. As a former Queen, she was granted a special dispensation to retain control of her inheritance. While there she had a great devotion to Our Lady of Silva and made substantial donations to the shrine in Oporto. Using her wealth she also had a hospice for travellers built as well as a number of bridges, churches, monasteries, and hospitals.
Returning from a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Silva, she fell ill at Rio Tinto (Gondomar). She died there in the monastery on May 1, 1256. In 1616, wanting to move her body to Arouca it was found not to have deteriorated, which generated a strong devotion to the Portuguese princess. She was beatified in 1792. Her feast is celebrated on May 2.
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.