St Veronica Giuliani Healing Oil
The St Veronica Giuliani healing oil is dedicated to Italian Capuchin Poor Clares nun and mystic. She was canonised by Pope Gregory XVI in 1839.
She was born Ursula Giuliani in Mercatello, modern day Italy on December 27, 1660. She was the youngest of seven sisters, three of whom embraced the monastic life.
It is told that at the age of three years Ursula began to show great compassion for the poor. She would set apart a portion of her food for them. Also, she would part with her clothes when she met a poor child poorly clad. Her mother died when Ursula was seven years of age.
When others did not readily join in her religious practices she was inclined to be demanding. At the age of 16, she experienced a vision which corrected this fault of character. In it she saw her own heart as a “heart of steel”. In her writings she confesses that she took a certain pleasure in the more stately circumstances which her family adopted. This was when her father was appointed in charge of finance at Piacenza. When Veronica came of age, her father believed she should marry. So he wished her to take part in the social activities of the young people. But she begged so earnestly that he finally allowed her to choose her own state in life.
Life in the monastery
In 1677, at the age of 17, Ursula was received into the monastery of the Capuchin Poor Clares in Umbria, Italy. She took the name of Veronica in memory of the Passion. The bishop said to the abbess: “I commend this new daughter to your special care, for she will one day be a great saint.”
Veronica became absolutely submissive to the will of her spiritual directors. Her first period was marked by extraordinary interior trials and temptations to return to the world. In her first years in the monastery, she worked in the kitchen, infirmary and sacristy. Also, she served as porter. Subsequently, at the age of 34, she was made novice mistress.
For fifty years, Ursula Giuliani lived as Sister Veronica in the Capuchin convent. She led her sisters as novice mistress for thirty-four years and as abbess for eleven. St. Veronica governed the convent with obvious common sense and guided the novices with prudence. She would not allow them to read mystical books. Instead she required them to study books on Christian basics. In 1716, she was elected abbess. As a practical woman, she improved her sisters’ comfort by enlarging the convent rooms. Also she had water piped inside.
Veronica had a lifelong devotion to Christ crucified that eventually became shown in physical signs. The marks of the crown of thorns appeared on her forehead in 1694. Then the five wounds on her body in 1697. Veronica was humiliated by the stigmata itself and by her bishop’s rigorous testing of her experience. He removed the saint from ordinary community life and put her under constant observation. Finally he determined that the phenomena were authentic. Consequently he allowed her to return to normal convent life and continue her service to her sisters.
After Veronica’s death a figure of the Cross was supposedly found impressed upon her heart. Notably her body has been deemed as being incorrupt. She was beatified by Pope Pius VII on June 17, 1804. Hence canonisation followed by Pope Gregory XVI on May 26, 1839. She is usually represented in art crowned with thorns and embracing the Cross.
Saint Veronica Giuliani’s “rebirth” in Lebanon began with the devotion of a Lebanese religious, Brother Emmanuel. Importantly he came upon her writings in 1994 while serving at a monastery in Deir al-Zour, Syria. Brother Emmanuel founded a religious order, the Little Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He believes Saint Veronica “has chosen Lebanon as a country to begin her mission. Because Lebanon loves Our Lady a lot and has a very deep relationship with Mary.” As of 2016, there are seven nuns and four brothers in the order.
Banners throughout the country proclaimed “A saint rises up in Lebanon!”. Due to this heralding the first church in the world outside of Italy dedicated to St. Veronica Giuliani. The newly built church, in Ksaibe, Lebanon, was consecrated on July 9, 2016, the saint’s feast day.
St Veronica Giuliani 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.