St Salvatore healing oil
The St Salvadore healing oil is dedicated to Spanish Franciscan lay brother from Catalonia in Spain. Notably he was celebrated as a miracle worker during his lifetime. He is honoured as a saint by the Catholic Church.
He was born in the Catalan Province of Girona. Orphaned at age 14, he moved with his sister Blasa to Barcelona, where he worked as a shoemaker to support them both.
When his sister had married, Pladevall felt free to follow a religious calling he had felt. He first entered the famed Benedictine Abbey of Santa Maria de Montserrat, near Barcelona. Apparently not feeling drawn there, and desiring a more humble way of life, he entered the novitiate of the Observant branch of the Order of Friars Minor in Barcelona as a lay brother . He made his profession of vows in 1542, having become known among the friars for his deep humility.
Salvador was then sent by his superiors to serve as the cook, designated beggar and porter at the friary at Tortosa. There Salvador soon acquired a reputation as a healer, and the friary became a destination for sick pilgrims. It was estimated by observers that the number of visitors to the friary numbered some 2,000 people per week.
Moves between Friaries
As a result, Salvador’s superiors developed a suspicion of him which was to shadow him for the rest of his life. Consequently he was moved about to different friaries. Firstly Bellpuig, then Lleida, followed by the remote village of Horta de Sant Joan. This is the town with which he is most identified with. He would live there from 1547-1559 in the Friary of Our Lady of the Angels. Salvador was eventually moved to the friary of Reus and again to Madrid, where he was visited by King Philip II of Spain. Finally in Spain another move to the friary in Barcelona. While residing there, in 1560 he was denounced to the Spanish Inquisition for the many miracles attributed to his intercession. After some investigations, they chose to take no action against him.
In 1565 Salvador was assigned to the Friary of St. Mary of Jesus in Cagliari, on the island of Sardinia. Seemly here he continued to serve as the cook for the community. He also continued to have cures take place at his intercession. It was there that he died on 18 March 1567.
At the request of King Philip, Salvador was allowed to be venerated as “Blessed” on 5 February 1606 by Pope Paul V. He was canonised on 17 April 1938 by Pope Pius XI. His feast day is generally celebrated on 18 March, the anniversary of his death. However it is observed by the Friars Minor on 17 April, the anniversary of his canonisation.
His remains were originally interred at the Church of St. Mary of Jesus attached to the friary where he died. In 1606 it had been decided to open his grave to provide his heart as a relic for the Franciscan community in Silke. When it was opened, his body was found to be still intact. Thus, when the Church of St. Mary of Jesus was demolished in 1718, his remains were brought to another church of the Order in the city. Finally then, in 1758, they were entombed in a glass coffin under the main altar of the Church of St. Rosalie in the city. This remains his shrine, where his remains can be venerated.
St Salvatore 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.