St John Nepomucene Neumann healing oil
The St John Nepomucene Neumann healing oil is dedicated to the first American bishop to be canonized. He was the fourth bishop of Philadelphia. A native of Bohemia, he studied at the University of Prague. He became a noted scholar, and entered the religious life. Nepomucene was deeply inspired by the letters of Father Frederic Baraga to the Leopold Missionary Society. He volunteered to labor in America, arriving in New York and receiving ordination on June 25, 1836.
The next four years were spent in missionary work among the members of the German community around Niagara Falls. In 1840, he joined the Redemptorists. In 1842- he was the first member to be professed in America. Ten years later, on March 28, 1852, he was consecrated bishop of Philadelphia. This was at the suggestion of Archbishop Francis Kenrick of Baltimore. As bishop, Neumann founded fifty churches in the diocese. He advanced the program on the cathedral. Also, he was noted especially for his contribution to Catholic education. Finding only two parochial schools at his arrival, Neumann established nearly one hundred by the time of his passing. He also cared for the poor and orphans. He founded the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis. Beatified by Pope Paul VI in 1963, he was canonized in 1977.
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.