St Pauline healing oil
The St Pauline healing oil is dedicated to the 20th century Brazilian nun.
Pauline of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus, C.I.I.C.( 1865 – 1942), was an immigrant from Austria – Hungury to Brazil. She became the foundress of the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. They are religious sisters who serve the poor. She became the first Brazilian to be proclaimed a saint by the Catholic Church. She was canonised on 19 May 2002 by Pope John Paul II. Pauline suffered from diabetes for much of her life. Also, she is considered by some to be a patron saint of diabetics.
Life of St Pauline
St Pauline was born Amabile Lucia Visintainer on December 16, 1865.y. Her ancestors were Germanic, who had settled in the region of Vigolo Vattaro as early as 1491.
Like many others in the area, the Visintainer family was very poor but practicing Catholics. In September 1875, the family, along with a hundred other people of the town, emigrated to the State of Santa Catarina in Brazil There they founded the village of Vigolo. She was known even at a youthful age for her piety and charity. However, from an early age she spoke of giving her life to God. She had very little intellectual education, but a great love for the Catholic faith and for the suffering and poor. Consequently, after receiving her First Holy Communion at about age 12, she began to participate in the life of the local parish, teaching catechism to children, visiting the sick and cleaning the local .chapel.
On 12 July 1890, Visintainer and her friend, Virginia Rosa Nicolodi, under the spiritual direction of a Jesuit priest, Luigi Rossi, committed their lives to religious service, under dedication to the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady. They began by caring for a woman suffering from terminal cancer, in a small house was which was donated to the small community and the young girls began a schedule of religious living. After the woman’s death the following year, they were joined by a third friend, Teresa Anna Maule.
In 1895, Rossi and Visintainer, seeing the need for a more formal and secure organization of the young women coming to them, decided to establish a religious congregation called the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Immaculate Conception.
Congregation is approved
It was approved by José de Camargo Barros, Bishop of Curitiba. In December of that same year, the founding trio took religious vows. Visintainer took the religious name by which she is now known. The congregation, Brazil’s first locally founded, grew quickly throughout the state. In 1903 Pauline was elected their Superior General for life. She moved to Ipiranga, Sao Paulo. There she opened a convent of the congregation in order to take care of orphans. These were the children of former slaves. Slavery had been ended by the Empire of Brazil only in 1888. Many aged slaves had been left to die because they could no longer work.
Mother Pauline is removed
In 1909 Mother Pauline was removed from her position as Superior General, Archbishop of Sao Paulo. There had been a series of disputes within the congregation. She was sent to work with the sick at the Santa Casa and the elderly of the Hospice of St. Vincent de Paul. She was not able to assume an active role in her own congregation.
She spent her spare time praying in support of the congregation. In 1918, with the permission of Archbishop Duarte, she was brought back by the Superior General, Mother Vicência Teodora. She was allowed to live at the General Motherhouse of the congregation at Ipiranga. There she would remain until her death. Mother Pauline was acknowledged as the “Venerable Mother Foundress”, when the Decree of Praise was granted by Pope Pius XI on 19 May 1933 to the Congregation of the Little Sisters, establishing it as one of pontifical right.
St Pauline’s health declines
Mother Pauline’s health began a long, slow decline in 1938, as she fought a losing battle with diabetes. In two operations, first her middle finger and then her right arm were amputated. She spent the last months of her life totally blind. On 9 July 1942 she died with the last words, “God’s will be done”.
St Pauline healing oil/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.