St Armagilus healing oil
The monk St Armagilus, crossed the English Channel to Brittany with many kinsfolk. With the help of King Childebert, he founded and was abbot of Saint-Armel-des-Boscheaux and Plou-Ermel. This still has 8th-century, stained-glass windows depicting scenes from his life. Connor, a local chieftain, forced them to leave the mission until 555. Connor was slain in battle that year, allowing their return.
A church called Saint Erme is dedicated to him in Cornwall. King Henry VII of England believed that Armagillus’s intercession saved him from shipwreck off the coast of Brittany. His earliest known “vita” dates only from the 12th century. Armagilus’s cultus spread from Brittany to Normandy, Anjou, and Touraine. His feast was added to the Sarum Calendar in 1498
In art, Saint Armagillus is portrayed as an abbot receiving envoys from the king Roeder. There is a statue of Armagillus in Henry VII’s chapel at Westminster. There is another on Cardinal Morton’s tomb at Canterbury. In paintings on the reredos, he may be represented in armour and a chasuble, leading a dragon with a stole around its neck. This image recalls a legend that the saint lead a dragon to Mont-Saint-Armel and commanded it to dive into the river below.
Saint Armagillus is invoked to cure headaches, fever, colic, gout, and rheumatism. He is the patron of hospitals (
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.
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