St Vitus healing oil (for Huntington disease)
St Vitus the son of a pagan Sicilian senator who became a Christian under the influence of his Christian tutor Modestus. His Christian nurse Crescentia and suffered martyrdom along with them. He is an example of how certain themes strangely become associated with the lives of saints.
Vitus is best known as the saint to invoke for those suffering from epilepsy and nervous diseases. St Vitus’s Dance also called Sydenham’s chorea and Huntington’s chorea is one of a series of abnormal movement disorders .
Given to a tutor called Modestus and a nurse called Crescentia, who brought him up as a Christian. His father tried to re-convert him to paganism, unsuccessful and then had the three of them arrested and scourged. They escaped to Lucania in mainland Italy and reached Rome. Here Vitus healed the emperor Diocletian’s son, who suffered from an evil spirit.
However, by the sixth or seventh century, associated with bodily health in one of the earliest versions of the Roman Misssal, The Gelasian Sacramentary. By the 16th century Germans believed they could get a year’s good health by dancing before the statue of Saint Vitus on his feast day.
This dancing developed almost into a mania, and confused with the nervous disease with the saint invoked against it. But that connection with such manic “dancing” led on to his patronage of dancers, and later of entertainers in general. Grouped among the Fourteen Holy Helpers – among them, Barbara, Blaise, Catherine of Alexandria, Christopher, George, and others – that enjoyed a collective cult in the Rhineland from the 14th century.