St Irene (virgin) healing oil
The St. Irene healing oil is dedicated to the 4th century martyr.
In 303, Emperor Diocletian outlawed the possession of sacred Scripture. Three Christian sisters living in Thessalonica at the time—Agape, Chionia, and Irene—concealed the several volumes of Scripture that they owned.
Later, the three were arrested for refusing to eat food sacrificed to Roman gods. When they were taken, their house was searched and the Scriptures discovered. Agape and Chionia were martyred first, and when Irene was commanded to deny her faith, she, too, was condemned to die. She was exposed in a house of prostitution first, but when she remained untouched, she was killed. It is thought that she was killed with arrows, which she shows in illustration.
The relics of St. Irene rest in the reliquary chapel in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on Notre Dame’s campus.
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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