Annual Mass of the Roses in honor of St. Therese

“The Dream of the Child Jesus” Oil painting by St. Therese of the Child Jesus contemplating His Holy Face on the Cross

The Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Covington, Louisiana will again celebrate the solemn Feast Day of St. Therese of the Holy Face and the Child Jesus, also known as “the Little Flower,” with their annual “Mass of the Roses” on Sunday, October 1st, 2017.  St. Therese was a French Discalced Carmelite Nun who died of tuberculosis at the age of 24.  She became a Saint and Doctor of the Church, inspiring others by her “Little Way” of doing small things with great love to attain holiness. She promised that when she died “a shower of roses” would fall from Heaven in the graces obtained through her intercession.

The “Mass of the Roses.” will open with a flute prelude by Sr. Grace, OCD and Patti Adams, LPO.  The Holy Eucharist will be celebrated at 9:30 am with Father Jorge Cabrera, OCD, as the main celebrant.  Immediately following Mass, the children are invited to join in procession, carrying roses to the altar  to be blessed and distributed.

Children come in procession for “the blessing of the roses.”

 

“St. Therese doll” handmade by the Carmelite nuns

Many gifts, food, and handmade items may be purchased; the proceeds will help the Carmelite nuns meet their financial needs for the year. Delicious refreshments will be served after the Mass, thanks to many gracious sponsors and volunteers.  Hand-made items by the sisters, as well as cookies, pies and bread from the Sister’s kitchen will be for sale as well as a variety of religious articles, 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.

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.”  

This years St. Therese Icon for silent auction by Patricia Enk, OCDS

St. Therese’ sister Celine (Sr. Genevieve of the Holy Face), also wrote: “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.” 

For more information on the “Mass of the Roses” (click here)

Below are some wonderful photos that journalist Paul Badde has sent of St. Therese’s relics visiting the Sanctuary Basilica of the Holy Face in Manoppello on November 4th, 2006.

Relics of St. Therese at the altar of the shrine of the Holy Face in Manoppello, November 4, 2006 (Photo: Paul Badde)
St. Therese reliquary covered with rose petals. Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello. Nov. 4, 2006 (Photo: Paul Badde)
St. Therese reliquary carried in procession in front of the Basilica Sanctuary of the Holy Face of Manoppello. Nov. 4, 2006. (Photo: Paul Badde)

Who is like God?

“Who is like God?” St. Michael holds high the Face of Jesus (Sculpture by Cody Swanson, Photo: Patricia Enk)

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid? When evildoers come at me to devour my flesh, these my enemies and foes themselves stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart does not fear; though war be waged against me, even then do I trust.” (Psalm 27:1-3)

It seems as though all hell is breaking loose, that every corner of the globe is filled with violence, disaster, and every kind of spiritual sickness.  Our relationship with God seems permanently broken, as so many souls reject, revile, or worse, are indifferent to their own Creator. Humanity is surrounded by a maelstrom of evil from which there seems to be no escape–at least that is what the devil wants us to believe and to despair of hope.  But we are not alone.  God has given us powerful defenders.

St. Michael, Old St. Patrick’s New Orleans (photo; Patricia Enk)

Mankind is in the midst of a battle, which has been fought since the beginning of Creation; between Christ’s Angels and the fallen angels or demons.  When God created the angels, they were tested before they could see Him face to face.  It is believed that it was revealed to them that God would become man and not an angel.  Lucifer, being a proud spirit, responded “Non Serviam” — I will not serve! St. Michael answered with the battlecry “Who is like God?” St. Michael and the Holy Angels have been given the authority from God by the power of His Holy Name to protect and defend God’s people against both human and diabolical enemies.

Devotion to the Face of Jesus is meant to repair mankind’s broken relationship with God, manifested in the world by the evil of blasphemy, sacrilege, and indifference.  This work of reparation honoring His Holy Face and His Name–which is the concrete sign of God’s existence and our relationship with Him–has been given the protection and help of the Holy Angels. Sr. Marie St. Pierre was a French Discalced Carmelite nun to whom Our Lord gave revelations of the Devotion to His Holy Face.  She wrote on November 18, 1843:

“One day during prayer, our Lord warned me in advance about the fury of Satan against the holy devotion, but He also consoled me, saying: ‘I give you My Name to be your light in the darkness and your strength in battle. Satan will do all in his power to crush this Work at its roots. But I assure you that the Holy Name of God will triumph, and it will be the Holy Angels who willl gain the victory in the conflict.” 

Engraving by Albercht Durer
Church of St. Michael/Sanctuary Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello (photo: Paul Badde)

St. Michael is named as the primary patron of devotion to the Holy Face.  This is reflected in many ancient works of art in churches where St. Michael or the Holy Angels are portrayed holding the Veil of the Face of Christ. A fascinating article was written recently by Gelsimo Del Guercio (here) about seven sanctuaries, dedicated to St. Michael, which are linked by a straight line called the “Sword of St. Michael.” The imaginary line “represents the blow with which St. Michael sent the devil to hell.”  I would like to add an eighth Sanctuary to the list: The church of the Sanctuary Basilica of the Holy Face of Manoppello. In God’s mysterious design this sanctuary, which contains a miraculous veil of the Face of Jesus, was named for St. Michael though no one who is alive today remembers why. The sanctuary, in Manoppello, Italy, falls at the center, on a map, of the legendary “Sword of St. Michael.”  St. Michael and the Holy Angels come to our aid and they are bearing His Holy Face!

“Who is like God?”

Holy Face of Manoppello, photo: Patricia Enk

“Come,” says my heart, “seek God’s face,” your face LORD, do I seek! Do not hide your face from me.” (Psalm 27:8-9)

St. Veronica column in St. Peter’s Basilica

“Lord, show me your way; lead me on a level path because of my enemies.  Do not abandon me to the will of my foes; malicious and lying witnesses have risen against me.  But I believe I shall enjoy the LORD’S goodness in the land of the living.  Wait for the LORD, take courage, be stouthearted, wait for the LORD!” (Psalm 27:11-14) 

Venice, Illustration for the Divine Comedy of Dante, 13th Century”
St. Michael and the Holy Sudarium of the Face of Christ (1516 Durer – Metropolitan Museum)

Servant of God Domenico da Cese, St. Padre Pio, and the Holy Face

Servant of God Padre Domenico da Cese (1915-1978) before the Veil of Manoppello
Holy Face of Manoppello Photo: Patricia Enk
Holy Face of Manoppello
Photo: Patricia Enk

September 17th marks the anniversary of the death of the Holy Capuchin priest of Manoppello–the Servant of God, Padre Domenico da Cese.  He was born on March 27, 1905, and was baptized Emidio Petracca, named for St. Emidio (c.279-309 AD), the saint who is invoked for protection in earthquakes.  As a nine-year old boy in 1915, young Emidio (later Padre Domenico) predicted the devastating Avenzzano earthquake in Italy. A 6.7 earthquake hit that region the next morning, killing more than 30,000 people, including two of his sisters. He and his father were buried in the rubble of their church as they attended Mass that morning.

Holy Face of Manoppello
photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

A man with a bloody face, who young Emidio Petracca didn’t recognize as a relative or friend, pulled him from the rubble to safety. Fifty years later, as a Capuchin priest, while visiting the Shrine of the Holy Face in Manoppello for the first time, he recognized the face of the man on the miraculous veil as the same man who saved him from the rubble. As Padre Domenico knelt before the holy relic “Il Volto Santo,” he exclaimed, “This is the man who saved me from the rubble!” He asked to be transferred to the shrine and remained at the Shrine as Rector until the time of his death.

The Holy Face of Manoppello, photo by Paul Badde/EWTN

 

Like his friend and fellow Capuchin, St. Padre Pio, the humble Padre Domenico was also a mystic and stigmatist who had extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit; such as the gift of “reading souls” and bi-location. Penitents who traveled from Manoppello to go to confession with Padre Pio were admonished by him for traveling such a distance when they already had a holy priest in Manoppello.  He told them, ” Why did you come all the way here, so far? You’ve got a priest there, my spiritual son, he’s like me!” St. Padre Pio’s last documented case of bi-location, just before he died, was before the relic of the Holy Face of Jesus at the shrine of “Il Volto Santo” in Manoppello, where Padre Domenico was the rector.  Padre Pio had told his fellow Capuchins that the Holy Face of Manoppello was the greatest relic of the Church.

In September of 1968, as Padre Pio lay dying in San Giovanni Rotundo (which is about 200 km south of Manoppello in Italy), his friend Padre Domenico da Cese had just unlocked the doors of the shrine of the Holy Face one morning, and was astounded to find Padre Pio in prayer, in the choir behind the altar before the sacred image of the Face of Jesus.  St. Padre Pio spoke then to Padre Domenico saying, “I do not trust myself any more.  I am coming to an end.  Pray for me.  Good-bye until we meet in Paradise.”  Twenty-four hours later St. Padre Pio died in his cell in San Giovanni on September 23, 1968.  Testimony was later given by witnesses that Padre Domenico da Cese was seen at Padre Pio’s funeral (another case of bi-location). A film was even taken (here) which shows Padre Domenico walking slowly in Padre Pio’s funeral procession, even though Padre Domenico had never left the shrine in Manoppello.

St. Padre Pio
Image of Manoppello
Photo by Paul Badde/EWTN
The Veil of the Holy Face of Manoppello
Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

Padre Domenico shared with everyone his ardent love and devotion for the Holy Face of Manoppello, also known as “Il Volto Santo” — a miraculous veil which transmits supernatural beauty, and at the same time indescribable suffering. It is the Face of Mercy, Love and Peace. He would tell pilgrims, “This face is that of Jesus, and it is a great miracle, always love him.” Padre Domenico had done much research on the sheer byssus veil, the image of which is not made with any paint or pigment, and compared the iridescent quality of the colors to the wings of butterflies which also reflect iridescent color naturally.  He also made studies of the Face on the Shroud of Turin, and its similarities to the Holy Face of Manoppello.  He believed with all his heart that it was the face of the same man, and he was convinced that, like the Shroud of Turin, the Veil of Manoppello was one of the many burial cloths in Jesus’s tomb–the holy sudarium which covered the Face of Jesus in death–and also miraculously bears witness to His Resurrection.

In September of 1978 while visiting Turin to venerate the Holy Face on the Shroud during a rare exposition, Padre Domenico, who was a giant of a man, was hit by the smallest car, a Fiat, as he was stepping out into a street. After suffering for several days in a hospital, and forgiving the man who had hit him, he died on September 17th, offering his life for the Holy Face on the Veil–the Face of the man who saved him as a child.

The penetrating and gentle gaze of the Holy Face of Manoppello, Italy Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
The Holy Face of Manoppello- photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

To learn more about his incredible life and passionate love for the Holy Face you can watch this wonderful video of his life, “The Long Road of Fr. Domenico, from Cese to Turin” by clicking here.

Servant of God, Padre Domenico da Cese, Pray for us!
Servant of God, Padre Domenico da Cese…
Pray for us!

“Mattress Mack” and Mother Teresa

“I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me. Whatever you did to the least of my brethren, you did it to me.” (Mt. 25)

It seems fitting that Jim McIngvale was born in 1951 on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes–February 11th–the date on which Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception appeared to a poor girl named Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes, France, in 1858. The message of Lourdes is forever associated with prayer, suffering, penance, and water–LOTS of water–a symbol of God’s grace and love.  Jim McIngvale is a man who will be forever associated with prayer, suffering, penance, and lots of water, but also with God’s grace and love. While few people know him by his given name, millions of people throughout the South recognize his other name, “Mattress Mack.” He is a Catholic business man, who opened the doors of his furniture stores in Houston to shelter and feed the cold, wet, dirty, and exhausted evacuees who were rescued from the historic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey.

It was not the first time “Mattress Mack” came to the aid of “the least” who were in dire need. He also fed and sheltered people who evacuated New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He gave jobs to some of those evacuees, who still work for him today, changing their lives dramatically for the good. For twenty years he has donated furniture to the poor at Christmas.  When asked about his charitable works, he humbly replied, “I was raised Catholic.  I continued my Catholic faith through my life, trying to do the right thing and you can help people along the way.”  

“You did it to Me”

I recently came across a photo of “Mack” smiling behind one of his sofas. (photo here) On the wall directly behind him was a quote from Mother Teresa, “Do ordinary things with extraordinary love.”  St. Teresa of Calcutta expressed this “extraordinary love” by orienting her life towards an encounter with Jesus, to see Jesus in the face of those in need.  Mother Teresa’s whole being was directed toward this encounter with Jesus in the poor.  There is only one Mother Teresa and only one “Mattress Mack,” but each one of us is called to perform works of mercy for the persons that God places in our lives, so that we too may each become a sign of God’s grace and love to others.

Mother Teresa
source: Flicker

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.  Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”–Mother Teresa

“Seeking the Face of God in everything, everyone, all the time, and His hand in every happening; This is what it means to be contemplative in the heart of the world.  Seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor.”  –St. Teresa of Calcutta