October 1st marks the feast day of St. Therese of The Child Jesus and The Holy Face. But, on Sunday, October 4th, Therese will be honored once again at the annual “Mass of the Roses” held at the Discalced Carmelite Monastery on River Road in Covington, Louisiana. Friends, family and religious come together for the Holy Eucharist and joyful celebration of the life and example of St. Therese. (More details below.) Of course, there are many, many children present and a “Shower of Roses from Heaven” fall, just as St. Therese has promised!
Although, St. Therese is more commonly known for her way of “Spiritual Childhood” and devotion to The Child Jesus, her sister, Mother Agnes gave this testimony for St. Therese’ beatification:
“Devotion to the Holy Face was the Servant of God’s special attraction. As tender as was her devotion to the Child Jesus, it cannot be compared to her devotion to the Holy Face.”
St. Therese’ sister Celine (Sr. Genevieve of the Holy Face), also wrote that “Devotion to the Holy Face was, for Therese, the crown and complement of her love for the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord. The Blessed Face was the mirror wherein she beheld the Heart and Soul of her Well-Beloved. Just as the picture of a loved one serves to bring the whole person before us, so in the Holy Face of Christ Therese beheld the entire Humanity of Jesus. We can say unequivocally that this devotion was the burning inspiration of the Saint’s life… Her devotion to the Holy Face transcended, or more accurately, embraced, all the other attractions of her spiritual life.”
Prayer of St. Therese to The Holy Face
“O adorable Face of Jesus, sole beauty which ravishes my heart, vouchsafe to impress on my soul Your divine likeness so that it may not be possible for You to look at Your spouse without beholding Yourself! O my Beloved, for love of You I am content not to see here on earth the sweetness of Your glance, nor to feel the ineffable kiss of Your Sacred lips, but I beg of You to inflame me with Your love so that it may consume me quickly and that soon I may behold Your glorious countenance in Heaven.”
— St. Therese of The Child Jesus and The Holy Face
This year’s Mass of Roses this year is exceptional because it will not only be in honor of St. Therese but also in honor of the 5th Centenary of the birth of the foundress of the Discalced Carmelites, St. Teresa of Avila. Shuttle service from off-site parking to the Monastery will be available beginning a 8:15 am. At 9:00 am there will be a flute prelude by Sr. Grace. Holy Eucharist will be celebrated at 9:30 am with Fr. Ephrem Arcement, OSB as the main celebrant. Immediately following Mass, the children are very welcome to join in procession, carrying roses to the altar to be blessed and distributed. 10:30 am wonderful refreshments will be served thanks to many gracious sponsors. Hand-made items, as well as cookies, pies and bread from the Sister’s kitchen will be for sale as well as a variety of religious article, books and gifts. A children’s area will be set up for face-painting, artwork and other fun activities.
A special table will also be set up for Holy Face books, Chaplets, Images and Medals. For the past few years I’ve done an icon of St. Therese for silent auction. This is a photo of last year’s icon. (I don’t have a photo of this years icon as I’m still “taking it down to the wire” with last minute touches.)
If you are in the neighborhood, I hope you can join us!
“Your Face is my only wealth, I ask nothing more. Hiding myself in it unceasingly, I will resemble You, Jesus. Leave in me, the Divine Impress of Your features filled with sweetness, and soon I’ll become holy. I shall draw hearts to You.” — St. Therese of The Child Jesus and The Holy Face