St Saturninus of Toulouse healing oil
The St Saturninus of Toulouse healing oil is dedicated toSt. Saturninus Bishop of Toulouse and Martyr (257)
Pope Fabian sent Saturninus to preach in Gaul about the year 245. Also, St. Trophimus, the first bishop of Arles, had gathered a plentiful harvest. Subsequently, in the year 250, St Saturninus fixed his episcopal see at Toulouse. Fortunatus tells us, that he converted a great number of idolaters by his preaching and miracles. However, this is all the account we have of him till the time of his holy martyrdom.
The author of his acts, relates, that he assembled his flock in a small church. The capitol, which was the chief temple in the city, lay in the way between that church and the saint’s habitation. In this temple oracles were given. However, the devils were struck dumb by the presence of the saint as he passed that way.
The temple priests spied him one day going by, and seized and dragged him into the temple. They declared that he should appease the offended deities by offering sacrifice to them. Alternately, he should expiate the crime with his blood. Saturninus boldly replied: “I adore one only God, and to him I am ready to offer a sacrifice of praise. Your gods are devils, and are more delighted with the sacrifice of your souls than with those of your bullocks. Also, how can I fear them who, as you acknowledge, tremble before a Christian?”
The infidels, incensed at this reply, abused the saint with all the rage that a mad zeal could inspire. After a great variety of indignities, they tied his feet to a wild bull. The bull had been brought thither to be sacrificed. The beast being driven from the temple, ran violently down the hill. The martyr’s scull was broken, and his brains dashed out. His happy soul was released from the body by death.
While his soul fled to the kingdom of peace and glory, the bull continued to drag the sacred body. Subsequently, the limbs and blood were scattered on every side, till, the cord broke. What remained of the trunk was left in the plain outside the gates of the city. Two devout women laid the sacred remains on a bier. They hid them in a deep ditch, to secure them from any further insult. There they lay in “wooden coffin” till the reign of Constantine the Great.
Then Hilary, bishop of Toulouse, built a small chapel over his holy predecessor’s body. Sylvius, bishop of that city towards the close of the fourth century, began to build a magnificent church in honor of the martyr. In due course, it was finished and consecrated by his successor Exuperius. With great pomp and piety, he translated the venerable relics into it. This precious treasure remains there to this day with due honor. The martyrdom of this saint probably happened m the reign of Valerian, in 257.
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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