St Eulalia of Merida healing oil
The St Eulalia of Merida healing oil is dedicated to the young Roman Christian martyred in Mérida, Spain. This happened during the Persecution of Christians under Diocletian. Eulalia was invoked as the protector of Christian troops. Also, she was patron of the territories of Spain during their formation.
Eulalia was a devout Christian virgin, aged 12–14. All citizens were required to avow faith in the Roman gods. Eulalia ran away to the law court of the governor Dacian at Emerita. She professed herself a Christian. She insulted the pagan gods and emperor Maximian. Also, she challenged the authorities to martyr her. The judge’s attempts at flattery and bribery failed.
Eulalia was then stripped by the soldiers. They tortured her with hooks and torches. Then they burnt her at the stake. She suffocated from smoke inhalation. She taunted her torturers all the while. As she expired a dove flew out of her mouth. This frightened away the soldiers and allowed a miraculous snow to cover her nakedness. The whiteness indicating her sainthood.
A shrine over Eulalia’s tomb was soon erected. Veneration of Eulalia was already popular with Christians by 350. A poplar poet, Prudentius’ poem increased her fame and relics from her were distributed through Iberia. Bishop Fidelis of Mérida rebuilt a basilica in her honor around 560. Her shrine was the most popular in Visigothic Spain. Around 780 her body was transferred to Oviedo by King Silo. It lies in a coffin of Arab silver donated by Alfonso VI in 1075. In 1639, she was made patron saint of Oviedo.
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.