Women’s Day of Recollection: Contemplation of the Holy Face

November 28, 2018
Source: Priory St Mary's

Devotion to the Holy Face disfigured in the Passion was the topic of this year’s Ladies’ Day of Recollection given by Fr. Christopher Brandler on November 10.  “It is such a privilege to have these days of recollection” one of the ladies commented, “and the priests who have the ability to spread the many devotions of the Catholic Church that seem to have fallen by the wayside, such as the devotion to the Holy Face.”  Fr. Brandler’s conferences covered the history of the devotion instituted by Our Lord Himself when He miraculously impressed His bleeding countenance upon the veil of Veronica, though numerous references to the face of God in the Old Testament place this adoration at the very beginning of Christianity.  “No other circumstance of the Passion was so clearly announced by the Prophets or so minutely related by the Evangelists,” Fr. Brandler noted, “as the outrages, ignominies, and insults to His holy face.  All these details were not preserved in the Scriptures without a particular design of God for Christians to give a special place among the mysteries of the sorrowful Passion of the Redeemer to the humiliations and sufferings of His most Holy Face.”  The veil of St. Veronica, preserved in the Vatican basilica, is venerated several times during the year, and saints throughout the history of the Church, including St. Augustine, St. Bernard, St. Gertrude, St. Mechtilde, and St. Therese of the Child Jesus practiced and recommended a special adoration of the Holy Face.  The mid-19th century revelations of Our Lord to Sr. Mary of St. Peter, a Carmelite in Tours, France, urging the devotion especially in reparation for blasphemy and impiety, along with the miraculous illumination of the face of Our Lord during a special three-day exposition of the veil of St. Veronica in 1849, invigorated the devotion worldwide.   A copy of the image piously venerated in the home of Leo Dupont, a lawyer, friend of Sr. Mary of St. Peter, and advocate of devotion to the Holy Face, was the source of so many healings that Pope Pius IX declared him to be perhaps one of the greatest miracle workers in Church history.  “Christians who have at heart the glory of God and the salvation of souls, honor with profound veneration the blood-stained, humiliated face of our Savior” explained Fr. Brandler, and thereby they “appease the anger of God, obtain the conversion of souls. . . and enjoy the glorious rewards promised by Our Lord.”