There are many promises from Our Lord for those devoted to His Holy Face, but this really isn’t another devotion, it is a plea from God himself, for reparation.
When we Gaze upon the face of Christ crucified, it unites us with all His sorrows, love and total abandonment.
It’s a remedy for our own conversion. The Light of His Face shines upon us, it illuminates our hearts and allows us to see our own sinfulness. It gives us the grace to change our life and remove all things that offends God. It was the glance of Jesus that saves our first Pope. It’s when Jesus looks at Peter that converted Peter’s heart. It wasn’t the cock crowing.
In the words of Our Lord to Blessed Pierina:
“Every time My Face is contemplated I will pour out My Love into the hearts of those persons, and by means of My Holy Face the salvation of many souls will be obtained.”
Honoring The Holy Face of Jesus began in Bethlehem with the birth of Our Lord and all gazing upon him from Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and the kings.
There are two miraculous images are associated with the Holy Face Devotion – Veronica’s Veil and the Holy Shroud of Turin.
Many of the earlier saints had great devotion to Our Lord’s Face such as St. Gertrude the Great, St. Augustine, St.Bernard, St. Bonaventure and St. Edmund. These saints all worshiped the thorned crowned head and you can find details in their writings. In face, St. Bernard wrote the song, O Sacred Head Surrounded.
In the mid 1800’s in Tours France, a Carmelite nun, Venerable Sr. Mary of St.
Peter was given the Golden Arrow prayer as a remedy for the poison arrows of blasphemy. Over a period of about three year, Sr. Mary of St. Peter receives visions from Jesus and Our Lady about this devotion. She died July 8, 1848 in the odor of sanctity.
Shortly after Sr. Mary of St. Peter’s death, during the period between Christmas and the Feast of the Epiphany, Pope Pius IX was in exile from Rome. The church was experiencing a revolution and many evils. During this time he asked for special prayers and on the last 3 days, had Veronica’s Veil on public display. Now the veil isn’t very visible and is covered with a silk cloth.
On the last day, Jan 6, 1849 a miracle occurred. The veil started to glow. For a period of three hours from 12 noon to 3pm, Our Lord’s Face was life-like and could clearly be seen. The image was weeping and bleeding.
The Cannons of the basilica ordered the bells rung. Many people came to see the miracle. The miracle itself is documented by an apostolic notary in the daybook of the Vatican Basilica.
There was no photography at the time so the miracle was drawn. It wasn’t until 1898 when Secondo Pia took the first photo of the Holy Shroud of Turin. No one knew at that time the image that lay hidden in the Shroud. So there was only the drawing of the miracle of Veronica’s Veil.
Copies of the Veronica Veil miracle were made over a period of about 75 years. These effigies of the Holy Face were printed and touched to the relic of Veronica’s veil, to a portion of the true cross, and Longinus’ spear.
Around the same time, Venerable Leo DuPont, a friend of Sr. Mary of St. Peter and a retired lawyer makes the devotion more broadly known. Leo DuPont is also referred to as the Holy Man of Tours. He was given an image of the miracle which he hung in his parlor with an oil lamp burning in front. He prayed the Holy Face prayers he had obtained from Sr. Mary of St. Peter – the Golden Arrow and The Litany of the Holy Face with friends and shortly afterwards miraculous healing began to occur by those who anointed themselves with the oil from the lamp that sat in front of the image. These miracles continued for 30 years, even after his death. His home was turned into an Oratory and today there still is an Oratory of the Holy Face and Chapel where his body in entombed. Sr. Mary of St. Peter’s tomb is also in the Oratory of the Holy Face.
In 1885, Pope Leo XIII approves the devotion to the Holy Face and established an Archconfraternity of the Holy Face. It was established not only for France, but for the whole world, all dioceses and for all times.
St. Therese of Lisieux and her family – The Martins – were members of the Archconfraternity. It had a profound impact on her family. Her religious name reflects her love of the devotion, St Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face. Her sister, Celine draws the famous image of The Holy Face. Her parents are the first married couple canonized as saints. This was the devotion of their hearts.
Fast forward to the early 1900’s where Blessed Maria Pierina, was urged in many visions by the Blessed Mother and Jesus Himself to spread the devotion to the Holy Face, in reparation for the many insults Jesus suffered in His Passion – the sacrileges and profanities. He said the insults were like being slapped, spit upon and kissed by Judas. As a young girl, our Lord asked Blessed Pierina for a kiss. As a sister, He again asked her for a kiss and when she kissed the face on the crucifix, she didn’t feel plaster but the flesh of Our Lord’s Face.
It’s through Blessed Pierina that we are given the Holy Face medal. On one side bore a replica of the Holy Face image from the Shroud of Turin and an inscription based on Psalm 66:2: “Illumina, Domine, vultum tuum super nos”, translated as: “May, O Lord, the light of Thy countenance shine upon us” . On the other side of the medal, there is an image of a radiant Sacred Host, the monogram of the Holy Name (“IHS”), and the inscription “Mane nobiscum, Domine” translated as: “Stay with us, O Lord” .
In our Blessed Mother’s own words, the medal is a weapon for defense, a shield for courage, and a token of love and mercy which her Divine Son wished to give the world in these troubled days of lust and hatred for God and His Church. The devil has cast out diabolical nets to wrench the faith away from man. In these times when true apostles are few and sin abounds, the Holy Face of my Son is the remedy.
Sister Pierina was beatified in 2010.
The devotion, seemed to go away after World War II until most recent times where we are seeing so much about the Holy Face around the world.