Oil Dedicated to St Charles of Mount Argus
St Charles of Mount Argus healing oil is dedicated to the recently canonised Dublin based Irish saint.
Charles of Mount Argus, was a Dutch Passionist priest who served in 19th-century Ireland. He gained a reputation for his compassion for the sick and those in need of guidance. His reputation for healing was so great at the time that a reference is made to him in the famous novel Ulysses by James Joyce.
He was born Andreas Houben in the Netherlands, His father was a miller by trade.
When 19 years old he was enrolled for military service. It is said that during his time as a soldier there was a disturbance in the town; the army were called out and ordered to fire. Afraid that he might hit someone, Andrew pointed his rifle the wrong way and narrowly missed shooting his superior officer.
Charles is ordained a priest
Feeling called to religious life, in 1845 Houben was admitted to the novitiate of the Passionists. He was given the religious name of Charles of St. Andrew. His father died in 1850, just before Charles’ ordination as a priest. The family was so poor they could not afford to go to his ordination because of the expenses of the funeral. He was sent to serve in England in 1852.
In July 1857 Charles was transferred to Ireland to the newly founded monastery of Mount Argus, in Harold’s Cross Traditionally Passionists are supposed to conduct missions and retreats to spread devotion to the Passion of Christ. Charles was not a good preacher. He never really mastered the English language. However, it was in the confessional and in comforting the sick that he excelled. He became fond of the Irish people. In the community, he was cheerful and often was heard humming the Dutch national anthem as he walked around the house.
It was Charles’ gift of healing the sick which is most clearly remembered. Another member of the Passionist community told of a 12-year-old boy who had lost the use of his leg. Without delay, he called Charles. Shortly afterward he found the boy walking up and down in front of the house completely cured. He became so popular with the people that the diocesan authorities, as well as the medical profession, grew suspicious of him. Unscrupulous persons who took holy water blessed by Charles and unbeknownst to him began to sell it throughout Ireland. In order to discourage this practice, Charles was transferred back to England in 1866 and remained there for eight years.
Return to Ireland
Charles returned to Dublin in 1874. A trap in which he was traveling overturned near St Clare’s Convent at Harold’s Cross, causing a fracture that never set right. He remained in Dublin until his death that took place at dawn on 5 January 1893.
At his funeral, attended by people from all of Ireland, there was definite proof of the popular devotion that had surrounded him throughout his life. The Superior of the monastery wrote to his family: “The people have already declared him a saint.” 
Pope John Paul II beatified the man whom everyone called the Saint of Mount Argus. Charles was canonized on 3 June 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI.
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 is an important way for us to express our faith in God’s power. Moreover, by doing so we place our trust in God.
Luke 10; 33-34. The Good Samaritan
“But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them”.