Oil dedicated to St Lucy Yi Zhenmei on prayer cloth
The Oil dedicated to St Lucy Yi Zhenmei on prayer cloth is in honour of the 19th century Chinese martyr.
Saint Lucy was born to Catholic parents in Sichuan in 1815. Devout and pious from a young age, she made a vow of chastity at the age of 12.
As she matured she developed a love for reading and study. At age 20, in the midst of her higher education she grew very ill. After her recovery Lucy took her spiritual life still more seriously, she devoted herself to the discipline of prayer with great devotion, assuming a way of life much like that of a religious while continuing to assist in the support her family. Her mother taught her how to spin, which also became part of her daily life.
A few years later, her brother moved back to Guiyang, during which time her mother died. Full of enthusiasm for spreading the Gospel, she went on doing missionary work. However, for her own safety she decided to stay at the convent of lay virgins. Shortly after, her failing health forced her to move back home again.
In 1862, she went with Father Wen Nair to Jiahanlong to found a mission. Many of the Friars, including Father Wen, were arrested and executed. On February 18, the day of their execution, they met Yi Zhenmei on the road, she was also jailed and put on trial that very day and sentenced to death, because she refused to renounce her faith. The following day at noon, February 19, 1862, she was beheaded.
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.