St Mary of Jesus Crucified
Born to poor Greek family. Twelve of her thirteen brothers died in infancy. Mary’s birth was an answered prayer to Our Lady. Her parents died when Mary was only two. She was raised by a paternal uncle. Moved to Alexandria, Egypt at age eight.
Betrothed in an arranged marriage at age 13, she refused to go along with it, insisting on a religious life. As punishment for her disobedience, her uncle hired her out as a domestic servant. He made sure she had the lowest and most menial of jobs. A Muslim servant tried converting her from Christianity. On 8 September 1858, Mary convinced him she would never abandon her faith. Consequently, in response he cut her throat and dumped her in an alley. Mary lived, an apparition of the Virgin Mary treated her wound, and she left her uncle’s house forever.
She supported herself as a domestic, working for a Christian family and praying. In 1860 she moved in with the Sisters of Saint Joseph. Supernatural events began to occur around her, and the Sisters would not let her join their house. She was taken to the Carmel at Pau by a Sister in 1867, and became a lay sister. Later that year she entered the cloister, taking the name Mary of Jesus Crucified, and making her final profession on 21 November 1871.
St Mary of Jesus Crucified’s fame spreads
She continued to experience supernatural events. Also, she fought off a demonic possession for 40 days, received the stigmata, was seen to levitate, had the gift of prophecy and knowledge of consciences, and permitted her guardian angel to speak through her. Helped found the missionary Carmel of Mangalore, India. Returned to France in 1872. Built a Carmelite monastery in Bethlehem in 1875. Supernatural gifts aside, she was known for her devotion to the Holy Spirit. She even sent word to Pope Pius IX that the Spirit was not emphasized enough in seminaries.
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.