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Devotion to the Holy Face and the Saints
The following are some of the Saints who have had a special love for the Holy Face of Jesus. Click the links to read about them.
Veronica | Bernard of Clairvaux | Gertrude | Julian of Norwich | Marie de Saint Pierre | Therese of Lisieux | Mother Maria Pierina

St. Veronica, Feast day: July 12

Enshrined in popular belief since the beginning of Christianity is the story of 'Veronica', a woman of Jerusalem who wiped the face of Christ with her veil while he was on the way to Calvary.

According to tradition, the veil of Veronica was imprinted with the image of the Holy Face of Jesus. There is no scriptural reference to this event, but the legend of Veronica became a part of Christian belief, and is the basis for all subsequent devotion to the Face of Jesus.

"Veronica wipes the Face of Jesus" is the 5th Station of the Cross, showing that down the centuries the Church has strongly urged devotion to the Holy Face.

See, St. Veronica

Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153):
Feast Day, 20th August

Born near Dijon, France in the year 1090, Bernard had great devotion to the holy face, the 'true likeness'.

In his book, The Turin Shroud, Colin Wilson argues that the Holy Shroud was in the possession of the Order of the Knights of the Temple of Solomon, (the 'Templars') which St. Bernard was instrumental in founding. He wrote the religious Rule for the Order, in about 1130. The Templars were renowned for their worship of a strange object, believed to be a 'head', but which could have been the Shroud image of the Face of Jesus. Saint Bernard wrote:

"Jesus the very thought of thee
with sweetness fills my breast,
But sweeter far thy Face to see,
and in thy presence rest"

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Gertrude the Great (1263-1302):
Feast day, 16th November

Born in Eisleben, Germany. Known as the herald of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but had also great devotion to the Holy Face, as seen on crucifixes and images of the Passion.

In revelation, Jesus said to her:

"All those who, attracted by my love and venerating my Countenance, shall receive by virtue of my humanity, a brilliant and vivid impression of my Divinity. This splendour shall enlighten the depths of their souls, so that in eternal glory the court of heaven will marvel at the marked likeness of their features with my divine Countenance"

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Mother Julian of Norwich, 1342-1416

A great English mystic, who described her visions of Christ in the classical work 'Revelations of Divine Love'. She describes 16 'showings', or revelations, which took place in May 1373. All 16 revelations are built upon the First, which was a mystical vision of the Holy Face of Jesus. The second and eighth visions are also explicitly related to adoration of the Holy Face. The following quotations are a only taste of this wonderful book.

"The first revelation, the precious crowning of Christ:

'And at once I saw the red blood trickling down from under the garland, hot, fresh and plentiful, just as it did at the time of his passion when the crown of thorns was pressed on to the blessed head of God-and-Man who suffered for me.'

'I seemed to see with my actual eyes the continual bleeding of his head… This revelation was real and lifelike, horrifying and dreadful, sweet and lovely. The greatest comfort I received from it was to know that our God and Lord - so holy and aweful - is so unpretentious and considerate.'

'Surely there can be no greater joy than that he, the most supreme, mighty, noble, and worthy of all, should also be the most lowly, humble, friendly and considerate. In very truth this marvellous joy will be ours when we see him'."

From these brief quotations, we see how the Holy Face of Jesus filled her soul with tremendous comfort, drew her into communion with Jesus in his suffering, and promoted deep love for Christ in her soul. These are the effects of all devotion to the Holy Face.  

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Sister Marie de Saint Pierre 1800-1845

A French mystic, who experienced many revelations relating to the Holy Face. She was the founder of the Arch-confraternity of Reparation to the Holy Face of Jesus, which was given papal approval by Leo XIII in the late 1800s. The young St Therese of Lisieux joined this confraternity as a child.

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St. Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897):
Feast day, 1st October

Born at Alencon, France, she entered Carmelite religious life very young, and took the name 'Teresa of the Child Jesus', but added 'and the Holy Face' soon after. She had a lifelong devotion to the Holy Face, and had many mystical experiences related to the Face of Jesus. The following is extracted from one of her most famous prayers to the Holy Face:

"O Jesus, who in your bitter Passion became 'the Reproach of men and the Man of Sorrows,' I contemplate your Divine Face on which once shone the beauty and sweetness of the Godhead; but now has become like the face of a leper! Nevertheless, under those disfigured features I recognise your infinite love, and I am consumed with desire to love you and make you loved by all men.

O Jesus whose adorable Face ravishes my heart, I implore you to fix deep within me your Divine Image, and to set me on fire with your Divine Love, so that I may be found worthy to come to the contemplation of Thy Most Glorious Face in heaven. Amen."

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Mother Maria Pierina, 1900-1945

The most recent major advocate of devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus; through her the Church has received the medal of the Holy Face.

This is the best-known prayer of Maria Pierina:

"O Blessed Face of my kind Saviour, by the tender love and piercing sorrow of Our Lady as she beheld you in your cruel Passion, grant us to share in this intense sorrow and love, so as to fulfil the holy will of God to the utmost of our ability. Amen"

For full story of Maria Pierina, see Holy Face Medal