St Olivia of Palermo healing oil
The St Olivia of Palermo healing oil is dedicated to the young 5th century virgin and martyr. Saint Olivia was venerated as a local patron saint of Palermo, Sicily.
Her feast day is on June 10. She is represented as a young woman with olive branches surrounding her, holding a cross in her right hand.
The oldest textual sources of her Life include a Gallo-siculo Breviary of the twelfth century. This records her memory and is still preserved in Palermo.
There are also references to a church being dedicated to her in Palermo since AD 1310 on the supposed site of her burial.
According to the hagiographic legend, Olivia was the beautiful daughter of a noble Sicilian family, born around 448 AD. Local hagiographers state that she was born in the Loggia district of Palermo. From her early years she devoted herself to the Lord while declining honors and riches. Also, she loved to give charity to the poor. In 454 AD Genseric, king of the Vandals, conquered Sicily and occupied Palermo. He martyred many Christians. When she was thirteen Olivia began to comfort the prisoners. urged the Christians to remain steadfast in their faith. The Vandals were impressed by the strength of her spirit. Nothing could prevail against her faith. In deference to her noble house, they sent her to Tunis. There the governor would attempt to overcome her constancy.
Olivia in Tunis
In Tunis Olivia worked miracles and began to convert the pagans. The governor therefore ordered that she be relegated to a lonely place as a hermitess, where there were wild animals, hoping that the beasts would devour her or that she would die of hunger. However the wild animals lived peacefully around her. One day some men from Tunis who were hunting found her, and impressed by her beauty tried to abuse her; but Olivia converted them too with the word of the Lord and they were baptized. After miraculously curing many of the sick and suffering in the region, Olivia converted many pagans to the Christian faith.
When the governor heard about these things he had her arrested and imprisoned. He hoped to make her apostatize. She was scourged and she was stripped and submerged into a cauldron of boiling oil. These tortures did not cause her any harm, nor did they make her renounce her faith. Finally she was beheaded on June 10 of the year 463, and her soul “flew to the sky in the form of a dove”