St Genevieve Healing Oil (Devotion to Works of Charity)
St Genevieve Healing is dedicated to St Genevieve a French nun, and patroness of Paris. She is said to have helped save the city from Attila and the Huns.
Genevieve was born near Paris in 422. She was 7 years old when St. Germain traveled through her village, preaching against heresy. People gathered around him in the town square to listen to him speak, and he singled out Genevieve and foretold her destiny as a saint. She asked him to dedicate her as a virgin and spent the rest of her life dedicated to God alone
Genevieve’s life was marked by constant prayer and devotion, as well as works of charity. One of the symbols of this saint is a loaf of bread because she was so generous to those in need. She died in 512.
Genevieve cherished a particular devotion to Saint Denis, and wished to erect a chapel in his honor to house his relics. Around 475 Genevieve purchased some land at the site of the his burial and exhorted the neighboring priests to use their utmost endeavors. When they replied that they had no lime, she sent them to the bridge of Paris, where they learned the whereabouts of large quantities of this material from the conversation of two swineherds. After this the building proceeded successfully. The small chapel became a famous place of pilgrimage during the fifth and sixth centuries.
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.