St Stanislaus Healing Oil
St Stanislaus Kostka on prayer cloth is in honour of the patron saint for broken bones.
Stanisław Kostka S.J. (1550 – 1568) was a Polish novice of the Society of Jesus. He is venerated in the Catholic Church as Saint Stanislaus Kostka.
Stanislaus entered the Society of Jesus in Rome on his 17th birthday (28 October 1567). He is said to have foretold his death a few days before it occurred.
The boy was the second of seven children. His older brother Paul survived to be present at the beatification ceremony of Stanislaus in 1605. At home, the two brothers were taught with firmness. The results were their piety, modesty, temperance, and submission.
Stanislaus and the 2 angels
St Stanislaus Kostka was soon conspicuous among his classmates during his three years of schooling, not only for his amiability and cheerfulness of expression, but also for his growing religious fervour and piety. His brother Paul said during the process of beatification that “He devoted himself so completely to spiritual things that he frequently became unconscious, especially in the church of the Jesuit Fathers at Vienna.”
Stanislaus alleged to a fellow-member of the Society at Rome that Saint Barbara brought two angels to him during the course of a serious illness, in order to give him the Eucharist. His tutor, John Bilinski, witnessed the miracle, and though he himself did not see what Stanislaus claimed to see, he “was certain that Stanislaus was not at all out of his mind through the violence of his sickness.
Stanislaus joins the Jesuits
The thought of joining the Society of Jesus had already entered the mind of the saintly young man. It was six months, however, before he ventured to speak of this to the superiors of the Society. At Vienna they hesitated to receive him, fearing the tempest that would probably be raised by his father against the Society. Stanislaus quickly grasped the situation and formed the plan of applying to the general of the Society at Rome. The distance was five hundred leagues, which had to be made on foot. The prospective dangers and humiliations of such a journey, however, did not alarm his courage.
Stanislaus stayed for a month at Dillingen, where the provincial of that time, Saint Peter Canisius, put the young aspirant’s vocation to the test by employing him in the boarding-school. He arrived 25 October 1567 in Rome. As he was greatly exhausted by the journey, the general of the order, Saint Francis Borgia, would not permit him to enter the novitiate of Saint Andrew until several days later. During the ten remaining months of his life, according to the testimony of the master of novices, Father Giulio Fazio, “he was a model and mirror of religious perfection. Notwithstanding his very delicate constitution he did not spare himself the slightest penance”. He had such a burning fever in his chest that he was often obliged to apply cold compresses.”
The death of Stanislaus
On the evening of the feast of Saint Lawrence (10 August), Stanislaus felt a mortal weakness, made worse by a high fever, and clearly saw that his last hour had come. He wrote a letter to the Blessed Virgin begging her to call him to the skies there to celebrate with her the glorious anniversary of her Assumption (15 August). His confidence in the Blessed Virgin, which had already brought him many favours, was this time again rewarded; on 15 August, towards 4:00 in the morning, while he prayed to God, to the saints, and to the Virgin Mary, he died.
The Holy See ratified his beatification in 1605; he was canonized in 1726. St. Stanislaus is a popular saint of Poland, and many religious institutions have chosen him as the protector of their novitiates.
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.