Oil Dedicated to Blessed Merci Prat (Martyr)
The Oil Dedicated to Blessed Merci Prat a Spanish civil war martyr.
Blessed Mercè Prat i Prat (6 March 1880 – 24 July 1936) was a Spanish Roman Catholic professed religious of the Teresian Sisters. Her profession saw her assume the religious name of “Maria Mercè of the Sacred Heart”. Prat was killed during the Spanish Civil War on the charge of being a nun.
Her cause for sainthood commenced in 1969 – in which she received the title of Servant of God – while Pope John Paul II beatified her on 29 April 1990 in Saint Peter’s Square.
Mercè Prat i Prat was born on 6 March 1880 in Barcelona as the eldest of four children to Juan Prat i Serra and Teresa Prat i Bordoy. She was baptized on 7 March 1880 and received her First Communion on 30 June 1890. She attended Mass on a frequent basis as a child and excelled in painting as well as needlework.
Prat had to fend for herself and her siblings after the death of her father in 1895 and the death of her mother not long after in 1896.
Prat becomes a nun
She travelled to Tortosa in 1904 and entered the Teresian Sisters while commencing her novitiate on 27 August 1904. Prat was vested in the habit on 1 March 1905 and made her profession on 10 March 1907. She worked in the field of education in Barcelona until 1909 when she was invited to Madrid where she made her final vows on 10 March 1910; she was in Tortosa in 1915 and was later assigned to work at the motherhouse of the congregation in 1920 in Barcelona. On 19 July 1936 the congregation was forced to abandon both their house and school due to suppression from the anti-Catholic government forces.
She was later arrested within the week alongside a companion and was sentenced to death on the charge of being a nun. She was both interrogated and threatened with being shot on 23 July 1936. That evening she and her companion were shot in the evening before a firing squad on the road to Rabasda; Prat repeated between cries of pain: “Jesus, Joseph, Mary” while she also recited the Apostles’ Creed. Her last words were part of the Our Father: “Forgive us … as we forgive …” – militiamen heard her cries of pain and shot her dead at dawn at 4:00am on 24 July 1936. She was buried in Barcelona.
Sister Gioacchina Miguel – arrested and shot alongside Prat – survived the ordeal and became a main witness for the beatification process of Prat.
Her beatification received the approval of Pope John Paul II on 21 December 1989 after he determined that Prat had indeed died “in odium fidei” (‘in hatred of the faith’) and beatified Prat in Saint Peter’s Square on 29 April 1990.
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 is invited to apply oil on the part of their body they want healed. 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.