Promoting Devotion to
The Holy Face of Jesus

Allan Smith presenting in Hastings, Ontario

The Holy Face of Jesus from the image of Veronica’s veil

Holy Face Devotion

Throughout the centuries, many saints and mystics have told us that “there is no practice more profitable for the entire sanctification of the soul than the frequent meditation of the sufferings of Jesus Christ” (St. Alphonsus Liguori).

St. Augustine stated that “a single tear shed at the remembrance of the Passion of Jesus is worth more than a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, or a year of fasting on bread and water.”

Veneration of the Holy Face of Jesus began during the actual Passion of Our Blessed Lord, when St. Veronica took her own veil and wiped His face as He carried His cross to Calvary.  The Sacred image of Our Blessed Lord appeared miraculously on that veil, and it has been revered ever since.

According to tradition, St. Veronica entrusted the veil to St. Clement, a disciple of St. Peter who became the third Bishop of Rome (Pope). For the next three centuries, the Holy Veil was kept in the Roman catacombs during the early persecutions of the Church. Eventually, Veronica’s Veil was placed in the Basilica of St. Peter and kept there until the present day.

Devotion to the Sorrowful Face has been practiced from time immemorial in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. Many saints such as St. Martin of Tours, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Gertrude have written about devotion to the Holy Face.  However, the idea of reparation being attached to this devotion

was not thought of until Our Blessed Lord Himself communicated it to Sister Mary of Saint Peter in the Carmel of Tours, France (1843). In His revelations to Sister, Our Blessed Lord clearly stated He desired: that reparation be made for blasphemy and profanation of Sunday through the worship of His Holy Face and that an Archconfraternity of the Holy Face be established, forming a center toward which confraternities set up in different parts of the world could converge.

Serious difficulties, which lasted a long time, impeded the designs of Our Lord and of Sister Mary of Saint Peter.Several Associations were set up in France, which attempted to respond to the requests of Our Lord, but these did not exactly satisfy His designs. However, they did serve to publicize the Devotion, which spread rapidly. It was the zealous efforts of the Venerable Leo Dupont to publicize the Devotion outside the Carmel of Tours, which were crowned with success.

Venerable Leo Dupont was a holy French aristocrat who lived in Tours, France at the time (1844 – 1847) of these reported visions of Jesus and Mary to Sr. Marie of St. Peter. Based on these messages, Dupont began to burn a vigil lamp continuously in his house before a picture of the Holy Face of Jesus based on the painted image the Veil of Veronica. On the morning of Holy Saturday, a woman came to visit him with an eye disorder. He encouraged her to pray before the Holy Face and to rub some of the oil from the vigil lamp on her eyes. Once she did that, she was immediately healed of all eye pain. This was the first of thousands of miracles obtained through reverence to the Holy Face, promoted by Leo Dupont. For the next thirty years (1851-81), he welcomed all the pilgrims who came to his house to venerate HisHoly Face and to seek a favor from Our Lord.

The miracles were so numerous that Pope Pius IX declared Leo Dupont to be perhaps one of the greatest miracle workers in Church history! After his death, his house was converted into the Oratory of the Holy Face which is still active today.  In1885, Pope Leo XIII established this special devotion as an Archconfraternity; and contrary to custom, He immediately established it for the ENTIRE WORLD. It is interesting to note that St. Therese of Lisieux was also very dedicated to this devotion, and her whole family was enrolled in the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face. It was her love of this devotion that prompted her to take the name, “Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face.”

Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face

Saint Therese of Lisieux was also very dedicated to this devotion, which prompted to take the name, “Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face”. This devotion was universally practiced before World War I but unfortunately, has since become scarcely known.

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