Oil dedicated to Fr Peter Rookey on prayer cloth
The Oil dedicated to Fr Peter Rookey on prayer cloth is in honour of the great priest who became known as the “Man of Miracles”
Fr. Peter Mary Rookey, O.S.M. ( 1916 – 2014) was a Servite Friar in the Catholic Church. Rookey was widely believed to have had the charism of healing. He spent a good part of his priesthood in that ministry.
Born in Superior, Wisconsin, on October 12, 1916. Rookey grew up in a family of thirteen. At the age of eight he was blinded by a Fourth of July firework. After about a year, his sight gradually began to improve, which Rookey credited to his mother leading the family in praying the rosary each evening after dinner “until little Peter’s eyesight returns”. On September 8, 1930, at the age of thirteen, he entered the Servite seminary. Rookey professed solemn vows on November 1, 1938 and was ordained a priest on May 17, 1941, at the Servite Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica in Chicago. It was then he adopted the middle name of “Mary”. Rookey was fluent in seven languages.
Rookey served as Assistant Master of Novices, at Mt. St. Philip in Granville, Wisconsin, and then as assistant pastor at Assumption Parish in Portland, Oregon. He helped expand the Order to Ireland where he served from 1948 to 1953 as assistant master and then prior at Benburb Priory.
At Benburb, Rookey began the common Catholic practice of blessing people after mass. It was in Benburb that it was first reported that people experienced healing when Rev. Rookey prayed for them, unbeknownst to the young priest. Hundreds attended healing services held there. Asked about this, Rookey would say: “It is God’s work, not mine – He does all the healing, I just pray.” The priest’s popularity did not escape his superiors’ attention, who took a very conservative position when it came to miracles such as healing. From 1953 to 1959 he was the Servite general consultor in Rome.
In the early 1960s Rookey served as the administrator of the Servite Catholic College of Louvain in Belgium and as a parish priest in Düsseldorf, Germany for several years until assigned to the Ozark missions in Missouri from 1967 to 1984 when he returned to Chicago to begin the second phase of his healing ministry.
A book was written about Rookey and his remarkable healings by Heather Parsons. The book was titled “Father Peter Rookey, Man of Miracles”
Peter Rookey was founder and director of The International Compassion Ministry (ICM) from 1986 until his death. In a 1994 Chicago Tribune interview Rookey said, “I say, use doctors and medicine when you are sick, but you also must pray. Because God gives the same wisdom to doctors that he gives to priests.”
Rookey died in his sleep just short of his 98th birthday, on September 10, 2014 at Our Lady of Sorrows Monastery, Chicago, having been a priest for 73 years. Interment was in the Servite Section of Queen
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.