St Claude de la Colombiere (promoter of the Sacred Heart of Jesus)
The healing oil is dedicated to St Claude de la Colombiere, the Jesuit Priest was the first to believe in the mystical revelations of the Sacred Heart given to St. Margaret Mary in Paray le Monial Convent, France. St. Claude not only believed, but dedicated his life to propagate the devotion, always spiritually united to St. Margaret Mary and trusting her discernment.
His Known History and Early Life
Claude was born of noble parents in 1641 in Saint-Symphoriend’Ozon, which is between Lyons and Vienne in France. In 1659, he entered the Society of Jesus. After living the religious life for 15 years, Claude decided to make a vow to live as perfectly as he possibly could, observing faithfully the rule and constitutions of his order under the penalty of sin. All who knew him well and lived with him in the monastery attested to the fact that he did this with utmost exactitude.
He later was made superior at the Jesuit house at Paray-le Monial and while there became the spiritual director of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Being her spiritual director, he naturally developed a deep devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He was sent to England in 1676 to be a priest for the Duchess of York and later the Queen of Great Britain. He still maintained his lifestyle as much as possible at the royal Court of St. James and continued his missionary work. Although separated from Margaret Mary, he counseled her through written correspondence.
St Claude’s Death
He suffered health problems primarily with his throat and lungs, which often caused problems with his preaching. While anxiously awaiting a summons back to France, he was arrested as a conspirator and imprisoned. Because of his friendships with both the Duchess of York and Louis XIV, he was able to escape the death penalty, but was sent into exile. He spent the last two years of his life at Lyons and died there on February 15, 1682.
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. Prayer and a gesture of faith, like applying the oil, are important ways for us to express our faith in God’s power. By doing so we place our trust in God.