Oil dedicated to St Brigid on Prayer cloth
The Oil dedicated to St Brigid on prayer cloth is dedicated to one of Ireland’s patron saints. She was an early Irish Christian nun and abbess. She was the foundress of several monasteries of nuns, including that of Kildare in Ireland, which was famous and was revered. Her feast day is 1 February, which was originally a pagan festival marking the beginning of spring.
According to tradition, around 480, Brigid founded a monastery at Kildare (Cill Dara, “church of the oak”), on the site of an older pagan shrine. The site was under a large oak tree on the ridge of Drum Criadh. Also, Brigid, with an initial group of seven companions, is credited with organizing communal consecrated religious life for women in Ireland.
She founded two monastic institutions, one for men, and the other for women. In addition, she invited Conleth (Conláed), a hermit from Old Connell near Newbridge, to help her in Kildare as spiritual pastor of them. It has often been said that she gave canonical jurisdiction to Conleth, Bishop of Kildare. Also, Archbishop Healy says that she simply “selected the person to whom the Church gave this jurisdiction”. Her biographer tells us distinctly that she chose Saint Conleth “to govern the church along with herself”. Thus, for centuries, Kildare was ruled by a double line of abbot-bishops and of abbesses. The Abbess of Kildare was regarded as superior general of the monasteries in Ireland. Also, her successors have always been accorded Episcopal honour. Brigid’s small oratory at Kildare became a center of religion and learning, and developed into a cathedral city.
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.