Faith/Spirituality Forum: extreme unction and prayers for healing
extreme unction and prayers for healing QUESTION from Kate on January 3, 2003 I realize this is not the history forum, but that is closed. I am a non-Catholic writer, researching a historical novel to be set in the late 13th century. I know unction was already practiced as a sacrament by that date, but was it in the same general form as today? If the person (in this case, a child) receiving the sacrament recovered, would they never be able to receive unction again? (For that matter, is that the case today?)
Were/Are any special saints asked for intercession in the case of a child's illness? (Only saints of that period, of course!)
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on January 7, 2003 Dear Kate:
The origins of the Sacrament of Anointing go back to the Bible (i.e. James 5).
The specifics rubrics for the Sacrament has changed over the centuries. I am not sure what the specific rubrics and prayers were for the time-frame you need.
As for children, they usually were not given the Sacrament of Anointing until after the age of reason -- around 7 years old -- this infants would not receive this Sacrament.
The term Extreme Unction was not used until the end of the 12th century.
It was the practice at one time to not repeat the Sacrament, but the Benedictines, around the 13th Century, were of the practice of repeating the Sacrament if a person got well, and then fell into deadly illness again.
Here is a complete article on the subject. I don't know how much it will help since you are wanting to know the specifics of the prayers and rubrics of the 13th century. But, the essential elements, I believe, were always there -- anointing with oil and prayer. The article may give you that much.
As for Patron Saints for ill children, try: Saint Clement I or Saint Beuno.
A general index of patron saints is found at: Patron Saints Index
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