Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Her Children

Queen Beauty of Carmel

“How fair you are, O Virgin Mary! Your face is resplendent with grace.” — Carmelite Proper

Mary has many titles, each having a special significance and meaning.  Our Lady of Mount Carmel recalls the ancient beauty of Mount Carmel in the Holy Land, the place where the prophet Elijah, zealous for the worship of the one, true, and living God, steadfastly sought the Face of God in silence and in prayer.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel personifies the”enclosed garden” created solely for God and watered by Him, containing all beauty, grace, and virtues. All mankind has been entrusted to her maternal heart; she gathers her children into the garden of Carmel to learn from her the way of perfection. The children of Our Lady of Mount Carmel are drawn by her — to “contemplate God in the human Face of Jesus” and follow in her footsteps which lead to fullness of prayer and communion with her Son. With docility to the Holy Spirit, Mary’s children seek to imitate their incomparable Mother in her pilgrimage of faith, hope in trials, and faithfulness in love, with trust in His mercy and purity of heart which will enable them to see the Father’s Face.

“The Beauty of Carmel has been given to them, they will see the glory of the Lord and the splendor of our God.”– Carmelite Proper

Here are a few of her sainted Discalced Carmelite children and what they have learned about seeking God’s Face in prayer …

St. Teresa of Jesus: “He is always looking at you; can you not turn the eyes of your soul to look at Him?”

“He will gaze on you with beautiful, compassionate eyes, and will forget His own grief to solace yours, only because you went to comfort Him, and turned to look at Him.”

“Never set aside the Sacred Humanity of Christ…If we can, we should occupy ourselves in looking at Him who is looking at us; keep Him company; talk with Him; humble ourselves before Him; have our delight in Him…the Lord is within us and we should be there with Him.”

St. John of the Cross

St. John of the Cross:  “The soul can only be satisfied with God’s Face.” To seek God’s Face is to seek Him in prayer, to look at Him is to take the time to contemplate Him, even in the darkness of pure faith. When we do this, St. John of the Cross tells us, God is doing great things! He shines His Face upon us, to restore by a “gentle touch” His image in our souls.  

“O my God, the more gently You touch, the more You are hidden in the purified souls of those who have made themselves aliens on earth, and whom You hide in the secret of Your Face.”

“Courage then, O soul most beautiful! You now know that your Beloved dwells hidden within your own breast. Endeavor therefore to be truly hidden with Him.”

St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face: “Your Face is my only wealth./ I ask for nothing more./ Hiding myself in it unceasingly,/ I will resemble You, Jesus/ Leave in me, the Divine Impress/ of Your features filled with sweetness.”

“O Jesus, whose adorable Face ravishes my heart, I implore Thee to fix deep within me Thy Divine Image and to set me on fire with Thy Love, that I may be found worthy to come to the contemplation of Thy glorious Face in Heaven. Amen.”

St. Elizabeth the Trinity: “Nothing shows forth the love which the Heart of God bears for us as does the Eucharist. It means union, consummation, He in us and we in Him. Is not that heaven on earth, heaven in faith, while we await the face to face vision for which we so yearn? Then, when His glory appears, we shall be satisfied when we see Him in His light. Do you not find that it rests the soul to think about that meeting with Him whom we love supremely? Then all else vanishes and we feel that already we are penetrating into the Mystery of God!

It is Your continual desire to associate yourself with your creatures…How can I better satisfy Your desire than by keeping myself lovingly turned towards You, so that You can reflect Your own image in me, as the sun is reflected through pure crystal?…We will be glorified in the measure in which we will have been conformed to the image of His Divine Son.  So, let us contemplate this adored Image, let us remain unceasingly under it’s radiance so that it may imprint itself on us.” 

St.Teresa Benedicta of the Cross: “Prayer is looking up into the face of the Eternal. We can do this only when the spirit is awake in it’s innermost depths, freed from all earthly occupations and pleasures that benumb it. being awake in body does not guarantee this consciousness, nor does rest required by nature interfere.”

“Contemplate the Lord who hangs before you on the wood, because he was obedient even to death of the cross. He came into the world not to do his own will but that of the Father. And if you wish to be the spouse of the Crucified, you must renounce completely your own will and have no other aspiration than to do the will of God…The eyes of the Crucified will gaze upon you. They question you and appeal to you…What will your response be? ‘Lord, where shall I go? You alone have the words of life.’ “Ave Crux, spes unica! Hail to the Cross our only hope! 

St. Teresa of the Andes: “Are you perhaps afraid to draw near him? Look at him, surrounded by little children. He caresses them, he presses them to his heart.  Look at him in the midst of his faithful flock, bearing the faithless lamb on his shoulders. Look at him in the tomb of Lazarus, And listen to what he says of the Magdalene: ‘Much has been forgiven her, because she has loved much.’ What do you discover in these flashes from the Gospel except a heart that is good, gentle, tender, compassionate; in other words, the heart of a God?”


Flos Carmeli

Flower of Carmel,
Tall vine blossom laden,
Splendor of heaven,
Child-bearing yet maiden.
None equals thee.

Mother so tender,
Whom no man didst know,
On Carmel’s children
Thy favors bestow.
Star of the Sea.

Hail Gate of Heaven,
With glory now crowned,
Bring us to safety
Where thy Son is found,
true joy to see.

St. Teresa of the Andes

St. Teresa of the Andes, professed Discalced Carmelite nun, born July 15,1900. She died April 20, 1920, just before her 20th birthday. Feast Day July 13

“Right now, try to get to know Jesus. Walk in His presence always. Look upon Him constantly. It is essential that you fall deeply in love with Him.  After Communion, ask Him for that love. By loving Him, you will learn to overcome and offer yourself.”  — St. Teresa of the Andes, OCD

Benedictines and the Holy Face

“Truly Seeking God” – Benedictines and the Face of Christ

“It is Your Face, O Lord, that I seek.” (Ps 26:8)

St. Benedict
St. Benedict, Feast Day July 11

In the Rule of his Order St. Benedict gives the key to discerning a true vocation in those seeking admittance to the Benedictine Order: “Let us examine whether the novice is truly seeking God.” (Ch. 58, Rule)  Since the Order’s inception, up to this day, the sons and daughters of St. Benedict have taken for their motto “Ora et Labora.” This “Prayer and Work” for many Benedictines is truly seeking the Face of God in the “prayer” of contemplation and the “work” of reparation to the Face of God covered with the blood, wounds, dust and spittle of  blasphemy–to stand, together with the Blessed Mother, before the endless crosses on which the Son of God continues to be crucified.  If there is a common thread among the holy men and women of the Order, it is woven through the veil of the Face of Christ.

But, they will tell you in their own words…

St. Gertrude by Migul Cabrera 1763
St. Gertrude by Miguel Cabrera 1763

St. Gertrude (1256-1302), while making reparation to the Adorable Face of Jesus, wounded and disfigured, said to Him, “Tell me, O Lord, the remedy that can soothe the suffering of Thy Divine Face!” Jesus replied: “If anyone meditates upon my sufferings with tenderness and compassion, his heart will be to Me as a soothing balm for these wounds.” Jesus gave St. Gertrude this promise: “All those who meditate frequently on my Divine Face, attracted by the desires of love, shall receive within them, through My Humanity, a bright ray of My Divinity, which shall enlighten their inmost souls so that they shall reflect the light of My Countenance in a special manner throughout eternity.”

St. Mechtilde (1240-1299) once exclaimed to her sisters, “Let us all, full of holy desire, hasten to venerate the sweetest Countenance of Our Lord, which will in Heaven be our all–all that a glorified soul can desire!” 

Bl. Columba Marmion
Bl. Columba Marmion

Blessed Columba Marmion O.S.B.(1858-1923) writes that our relationship with God hinge upon two things; our walking in the truth of our nature as creatures, who remain always in humble adoration before our Creator and our dignity as children of God.  “Our adoption as children supposes that we act always as loving children towards Our Heavenly Father, constantly seeking His good pleasure: Seek His Face evermore!  This Facies Dei, Face of God, is the smile of His loving approbation.  If you always keep the truth of this twofold relation, you will be more and more fixed in truth and in peace.”  “Look your Heavenly Father in the Face, and show him your soul in truth,” Bl. Marmion counsels, “…do not forget that He is God the Infinite!  The love of the creature, in order to be true, must be the love of adoration; the spirit of fear of the Lord.  If you keep the eye of your soul fixed on God alone, you will receive many graces.”  “It is good sometimes, when alone with God, to stretch out our hands and look at Him in faith showing Him the depths of our soul that His eye may penetrate into those abysses that are hidden in the recesses of the heart.  Then our prayer is pure and very powerful, for the child gazes into the Father’s Face, seeking His Face, that is to say His good pleasure:  “Seek ye the Lord, seek His Face EVERMORE!”

Mother Marie des Douluers, Foundress of the Benedictines of Jesus Crucified
Mother Marie des Douluers, Foundress of the Benedictines of Jesus Crucified

Mother Marie des Douleurs (1902-1983) Foundress of the Congregation of the Benedictines of Jesus Crucified emphasizes the relationship between the Sacred Heart of Jesus and His Holy Face:  “We must discover on this Face the revelation of the secrets of His Heart.” She also points to the Holy Spirit, whose work it is to restore the image of God in our souls: “Devotion to the Holy Face is the particular aspect by which the Holy Spirit makes us learn all we need to know to become the saints that Jesus desires.  This devotion is of such central importance and so vital for us that we cannot live without it!”

Bl. Ildephonsus Cardinal Shuster, O.S.B.
Bl. Ildephonsus Cardinal Shuster, O.S.B.

Blessed Ildephonsus Cardinal Shuster, O.S.B.  (1880-1954) wrote, “The Face of Jesus in Heaven is the cause of joy to the angels, but on earth it is a token of pity for sinners.  We say to the Father Respice in faciem Christi tui, (Ps 83:10) (Look upon the Face of Thy Christ) but let us fix our own gaze on that Face of Jesus, lest we lose sight of it.  As the Eternal Father, when He beholds the Face of Jesus, is touched with compassion for the wretched children of Adam, so let us show a holy reverence for that Sacred Face and for those pure eyes that look on us so tenderly; let us take care that all our actions are worthy of the ineffable sanctity of that Divine regard.”

Last but not least, is the Servant of God, Ildebrando Gregori O.S.B. (1894-1985) founder of the women’s religious congregation the Benedictine Sisters of Reparation of the Holy Face. The devotion to the Holy Face was rooted and imprinted on his Congregation: “The title that sets you apart is Reparation of the Sacred Face of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the story of Jesus’ Passion that manifests itself, in a particular way, in the love which St. Benedict had for that Face. The Face of Jesus which was seen dripping blood, crowned with thorns, spat upon; His eyes were bruised, the broken eyebrows, broken lips. His Face, more beautiful than Paradise, appeared like the face of a leper. So Adorers of the Holy Face, Reparation of his wounds in the contemplation of prayer (Ora), in the service of the needy (Labora)… (adoration of the Face of Christ) is essential to make reparation, to create harmony with Christ Jesus who makes us love what the beloved loves, to want what He wants and rejecting what brings Him pain, injury, suffering.”

This apostle of devotion to the Face of Christ applied the Rule of St. Benedict to a work of   human and spiritual formation for the poorest and most abandoned children, victims of World War II, in whom he saw the suffering face of Jesus.  He later extended that work to include the elderly.  At the time he was Abbot General he met Blessed Mother Maria Pierina de Micheli, of the Daughters of the Immaculate Conception, to whom Our Lord gave the mission of the propagation of the Holy Face Medal.  He became her Spiritual father and director until the time of her death in 1945. Padre Gregori shared with Bl. Mother de Micheli the love, devotion and deep desire to make reparation to the Face of Jesus and to propagate the Holy Face Medal throughout the world.

Servant of God Idlebrando Gregori, OSB
Servant of God Idlebrando Gregori, OSB


“I wish that the Lord bless you as He blessed the holy pious women, that He will fill you with His holy Love.  His Blessed Face is your ideal, and will piously torment you with the desire to give Him love and praise, this is the perfect reparation. “–Servant of God Ildebrando Gregori OSB

The Precious Blood on the Face of Christ

“Il Volto Santo” The Holy Face of Manoppello. (Photo by Paul Badde/EWTN)

“You were not redeemed with corruptible things as of gold or silver… but with the Precious Blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled.” (1 Peter 1:18)

Mankind is suffering, it seems, as though on a scale never before seen on earth, by countless acts of humiliation and degradation of human beings by other human beings: child abuse, slavery, human trafficking, pornography, abortion, euthanasia and countless other evils. Human beings have been stripped of their God-given dignity and intrinsic worth, which is derived from having been made in the image and likeness of God. This suffering is signified by the Precious Blood covering the Face of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Precious blood indeed, for it is a terrible thing to fall under the wrath of God. Precious blood, shed but not lost, given up by God to be gathered, every drop, by God and held for eternity: the boundless treasure by which self-made slaves are freed from the penalties sin demanded of the strong arm of God. Who else but God could stay the power of God’s justice? Precious Blood ‘because the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you, that you may make atonement with it upon your souls: and the blood may be for an expiation of the soul.'” (Leviticus 17:11)  “The Precious Blood is the key to the heavenly Paradise.”–from the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas on the Precious Blood 

So, let us offer to the Father, who loves each soul as though they were His only Son, this Precious Blood on the Divine Face of Christ, in expiation and atonement for the sins against humanity.  Contemplate the bloodied sorrowful Face of Jesus, crucified and then risen. It is a source of light, hope, and means of salvation for mankind…and by contemplating His Face, the image and glory of the Father, through the Holy Spirit, the dignity of mankind may be restored.

Precious Blood of Jesus, Save us!

Prayer of St. Therese

Eternal Father, since thou hast given me for my inheritance the adorable Face of thy Divine Son, I offer that Face to thee, and beg thee, in exchange for this coin of infinite value, to forget the ingratitude of souls dedicated to thee, and to pardon all poor sinners. 

O Jesus, who in thy bitter Passion became “the most abject of men, ‘a man of sorrows’, I venerate thy Sacred Face whereon once there did shine the beauty and sweetness of the Godhead; but now it has become for me as if it were the face of a leper! Nevertheless, under those disfigured features, I recognize thy infinite love and I am consumed with the desire to love thee and make thee loved by all men. The tears which well up abundantly in thy sacred eyes appear to me as so many precious pearls that I love to gather up, in order to purchase souls of poor sinners by means of their infinite value.

O Jesus, whose adorable Face ravishes my heart, I implore thee to fix deep within me thy Divine Image and to set me on fire with thy love, that I may be found worthy to come to the contemplation of thy glorious Face in Heaven. Amen.


For the Healing of a Nation

“…and if my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek My Face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from Heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land.” (2 Chr. 7:4)