St Angela of Foligno healing oil
St Angela of Foligno is a model for people who want to simplify their lifestyle. As a young adult she reveled in luxury and sensuality. She married a rich man of Foligno, Italy, and used his wealth to indulge herself in possessions. And her impetuous temperament nudged her into sinful behavior.
However in 1285, Angela made a surprising about-face. One day she wept bitterly and confessed a serious sin to a friar, who absolved her. Then she embarked on a life of prayer and penance. Over the next six years, step-by-step she divested herself of her attachments to people and things.
In 1288 her mother, husband, and sons died of a plague. As a widow, Angela was free to concentrate on her pursuit of holiness. She modeled herself on St. Francis of Assisi and joined the Franciscan Third Order in 1291. Like Francis, Angela expected to meet Christ in the poor. For instance, on Holy Thursday, 1292, she and a companion went to care for lepers at the hospital in Foligno. After they had washed a man who was badly decomposed, they drank some of the bathwater. The experience so moved Angela that she says all the way home she felt “as if we had received Holy Communion.”
Angela of Foligno was a visionary who, like St. Catherine of Siena, at the drop of a hat might fall into a trance. From 1292 to 1296 she dictated her revelations to Brother Arnold, her confessor. Angela recorded 30 steps of her tortured spiritual journey, which always seemed to blend awareness and absence of God, certitude and doubt, and joy and agony.