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St. Antony's Brief

ST. ANTONY’S BRIEF (Note, or Letter)

“Behold the Cross of the Lord!
Begone you enemy powers!
The lion of the tribe of Juda,
the root of David has conquered, Alleluia!”

These are the words of ‘St. Antony’s Brief’, which Pope Sixtus V had inscribed on the obelisk he erected in the quadrangle in front of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Many people carry the words with them, on a card, leaflet or scapluar, to obtain protection against temptation by the devil.

The custom of carrying and praying the ‘Brief’ is based on the story of a woman in Portugal who was tempted by the devil to commit suicide. Her life was in ruins, and she had made up her mind to kill herself. On her way to throw herself into the river, she stopped off at a roadside shrine to St.Francis to say a last prayer before a statue of St. Antony. During her prayer she fell asleep and saw St. Antony, who set her free from the despair the devil had trapped her in.

When she woke up she found a note (a 'brief') given to her by St. Antony with the words quoted above written on it. The original note is said to have been preserved with the crown jewels of Portugal.

The practice also relates to Saint Antony’s own struggle with the devil, who was trying to choke him. An early account of this, by a contemporary Franciscan friar, relates that Saint Antony put the devil to flight by invoking Mary’s help and making the Sign of the Cross.

Sister Marie Pierre and
Devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus
God has told us through Sister Marie Pierre that the Holy Face of Jesus is a symbol of the Catholic Religion. This is particularly meaningful for us today, because the loss of Faith and weakening of doctrine that have affected the Church in modern times have disfigured the 'face' of Catholicism itself.

Who is 'Marie Pierre'?

Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre was a member of the religious community of Carmelites in Tours, France in the mid-1800s. Our Lord appeared several times to her to ask for reparation to be done to His Holy Face. These revelations enjoy the full approval of the Catholic Church.
On November 24, 1843, Our Lord spoke the following words her:

"The earth is covered with crimes. The violation of the first three Commandments of God has offended My Father. The Holy Name of God blasphemed, and the Holy Day of the Lord profaned, fills up the measure in iniquities. These sins have risen unto the Throne of God and provoked His wrath which will soon burst forth if His justice be not appeased. At no time have these crimes reached such a pitch."

In 1845 she again experienced a vision of Jesus, who repeated his request for reparation to be made to his Holy Face, saying:

"The face of France has become hideous in the sight of My Father; it provokes Him to justice; offer Him, therefore, the Face of His Only Son in Whom He is well pleased, to draw His mercy down on France, without which she will be chastised. Here is France's salvation, that is to say, in the Face of the Saviour."

The Devotion Spreads After Marie Pierre's death

Three years after the death of Sister Marie, devotion to the Holy Face was brought miraculously to the attention of the French nation. A gentleman of Tours, named Monsieur Dupont, received two copies of the Veil of St Veronica, from the Prioress of the Carmelites of Tours where Marie de Saint-Pierre had been a religious sister. The veil became the subject of miraculous manifestations in 1849, during the Pope's exile at Gaeta.

M. Dupont "the holy man of Tours" became the messenger of Marie de Saint-Pierre's mystical message, by exhibiting a copy of the Roman Holy Face, the "Veil of Veronica" in his study, soon to be transformed into an oratory. Through anointings made with the oil from the lamp burning in its presence, the "Veil of Veronica" worked miracles; it attracted crowds of pilgrims, but above all, it raised up "Veronicas" in accordance with the desire expressed by Our Lord to Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre:

"I am looking for Veronicas to wipe and to honour my divine Face."

One of these 'Veronicas' was St Therese of Lisieux. In 1885 the Bishop of Tours approved the setting up of the Arch-confraternity of Reparation to the Holy Face of Jesus. A certain Monsieur Martin and this three daughters entered their names in the register of this new confraternity - the youngest of whom was Thérèse. She was then 12 years old. She entered Carmel at the age of fifteen, and went on to become Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. She was, therefore, practising devotion to the Holy Face even before her formal entry into religious life.

Promises of Our Lord Jesus Christ to Sr. Marie
for those who honour and adore His Holy Face
1. By My Holy Face you will work "WONDERS," appease the anger of God and draw down Mercy for the conversion of sinners.
2. NOTHING THAT YOU ASK in virtue of this offering will be refused you! Ah! If you did but know how pleasing is the sight of My Face to My Father!
3. In proportion to your care in repairing the injuries My Face receives from Blasphemers, will I take care of yours, which has been disfigured by sin; I will restore it to My likeness, and render it as beautiful as when it had just left the Baptismal Font.

"Our Lord promised me that all those who defend His cause in this work of reparation, by words, by prayers, or in writing, He will defend them before His Father; at their death He will purify their souls by effacing all the blots of sin and will restore to them their primitive beauty." - Sister Marie Pierre

The Golden Arrow Prayer
- an act of Praise and Reparation dictated by Our Lord to Sister Marie:

"May the Most Holy, Most Sacred, Most
Adorable, Most incomprehensible and
unutterable Name of God be always praised,
blessed, loved, adored and glorified, in Heaven,
on earth, and under the earth, by all the
creatures of God and by the Sacred Heart of
Our Lord Jesus Christ in the most Holy
Sacrament of the altar. Amen."

After receiving this prayer, Sister Marie was given a vision in which she saw the Sacred Heart of Jesus delightfully wounded by the "Golden Arrow" as torrents of graces streamed from It for the conversion of sinners.

PRAYERS to the Holy Face,
inspired by the writings of Marie Pierre

'O Lord Jesus Christ, in presenting ourselves before thy adorable Face to ask of thee the graces of which we stand most in need, we beseech thee, above all, to grant us that interior disposition of never refusing at any time to do what thou requires of us by thy holy commandments and divine inspirations.'

'Eternal Father, we offer thee the adorable Face of thy well-beloved Son, for the honour and glory of thy Holy Name and for the salvation of our country.'

'Eternal Father, I ask of thee as many souls as was the number of the drops of Blood as thy Divine Son shed in His Passion.'
(She was given a vision of Hell and the multitude of souls falling in, and was invited to pray for poor sinners. Dec. 21, 1846).

'Eternal Father, I offer Thee Our Saviour, Jesus Christ for the expiation of my sins and for the needs of Holy Church.'

Our Lord told Sister Marie St. Pierre on March 16, 1844:

"Oh if you only knew what great merit you acquire by saying even once,
'Admirable is the Name of God,'
in the spirit of reparation for blasphemy."

(say often)