Oil Dedicated to St Zdislava Barks (Patron Saint for Difficult Marriages)
St Zdislava Barks is one of the earliest of Dominican tertiaries (Lay Dominican). It wasn’t until 1907 she was beatified by Pope St. Pius X. She canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1995.
Born of a warrior race to noble parents, Zedislava lived in a fortified castle on the borders of Christendom, in an age when the fierce Mongol hordes were the world’s worst menace. Her whole life spent within the sound of clashing arms, and the moans of the dying. The gentleness and purity of her life stand out in surprising beauty against the dark background of a warlike and materialistic people.
Zedislava learned Christian charity early in life from her mother, who taught her not only the secrets of preparing medicinal herbs but also the healing balm of prayer. Going each day to the castle gate with alms and medicines for the poor and the wretched who crowded there for help, she soon well acquainted with human misery. Cheerful, prayerful, and alert to see the sorrows of others, the child became a light of hope to the miserable. Because of her sweetness and natural charm, she was able to teach many lessons to those about her.
As a child, she is said to have fled from her home for a time to live as a hermit, but she returned to live a more normal life that included an early marriage to a soldier, the duke of Lemmberk, who, like her own father, was a rich nobleman in command of a castle on the frontier. The couple produced four children. Zedislava cared judiciously for her own family and lavished great care on the poor, especially the fugitives and victims of the Tartar invasions.