Saint’s Oil

St. Walburga, the eve of whose feast day is celebrated tonight as Walpurgisnacht, is the subject of a most interesting post at Fish Eaters:

It is what happened…in A.D. 893 that helps keep St. Walburga in our consciousness. In that year, the successor to the Bishop who translated her relics opened her tomb to retrieve some of those relics for the Abbess of Monheim. He found that her remains exuded an oil — a healing substance known as the “Oil of Saints.” This precious substance has been exuding from her remains yearly ever since between 12 October and 25 February, her Feast in the Benedictine Breviary, only stopping “during a period when Eichstadt was laid under interdict, and when blood was shed in the church by robbers who seriously wounded the bell-ringer.” The Abbess got her relics, and some were also sent to Cologne, Antwerp, Furnes, and other places — many of these translations giving rise to Feasts — but it is her tomb in the church in Eichstadt that, to this day, exudes the fragrant, healing oil. A Benedictine nunnery immediately arose near the church that houses her tomb so that the Sisters could tend to her relics and help with the pilgrims who came for the healing oil. The Sisters have been there now for a thousand years.

St. Walburga is depicted in art as a Benedictine holding a vial of her Oil of Saints.

(A tip o’ the crozier to Amy, off lighting her bonfire.)

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4 responses to “Saint’s Oil

  1. A bonfire in a glass. 🙂

    I’d like to know more about this creepy cool “Oil of the Saints.”

  2. This is from an article in Stars & Stripes:

    For 1,000 years, a mysterious moisture has collected every year on St. Walburga’s bones. The water became known as “St. Walburga’s Oil,” and was seen as a sign of her continuing intercession.

    The oil dripping from her bones begins Feb. 25, her feast day, and continues through October, when it stops dripping until the following February. The oil is collected by nuns at the church and given to pilgrims. Healings attributed to St. Walburga’s Oil continue to be reported.

  3. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia there is no oil shortage when it comes to saints.

  4. Thanks, Mark. Re: your second comment, you should write headlines.

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