The Holy Veil of Manoppello
The origins of this miraculous image on a gossamer-thin veil, “not made by human hands,” of the Face of Jesus are a great mystery and gift of God. It’s existence is an invitation to enter more deeply into relationship with God by contemplating the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus in His Holy Face. Devotion to The Holy Face is therefore necessary, so that the great gift of “Il Volto Santo” The Holy Face of Manoppello is not treated as a mere curiosity, but with reverence, love and gratitude. May Jesus Christ draw all souls, by His Merciful Face, reflecting all the love and pains of His Sacred Heart, to Himself.
Below is the testimony of the Most Reverend Salvatore Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco on the occasion of his visit to the Holy Face of Manoppello:
“My visit to the Volto Santo of Manoppello was moving and profound. It took a very cherished idea and made it personal and real. I will always treasure the half-hour I had to pray privately before the holy image. It is alive; even the expression changes from different angles and with different lighting. It is like looking at a real human face, looking into the face of Jesus. The eyes, especially, are very alive and penetrating. My love for Jesus Christ has become much more personal now.
I will also always be thankful for the opportunity to concelebrate the Mass with Cardinal Muller, along with the Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto, the Most Reverend Bruno Forte, the next day – “Omnis terra” Sunday. To participate with them in blessing the people with the Holy Face and then having the privilege to carry it in returning it to its place of safe keeping was a blessing I will never forget.
I encourage everyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ and love for him to cultivate a devotion to this holy image he has left us – a picture of the first instant of the Resurrection.”
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone
Brief video about the Holy Veil of Manoppello from Vatican on Youtube (here).
Holy Face of Manoppello blogspot features several articles about the Holy Face at the center of the Catholic cultural event: the “Week of Beauty” in Tuscany.
Good news! Paul Badde’s new book The Holy Veil of Manoppello: The Human Face of God is now available. Published by Sophia Institute Press.
A fine article by K.V. Turley, about this wonderful book may be found here on Catholic Exchange.
Article in National Catholic Register here – “Author’s Quest to the Holy Veil of Manoppello Better Known”
LifeSite New’s article and revealing interview with Paul Badde, written by Maike Hikson may be found here.
“The veil of Manoppello lay on the head of Jesus, between Christ and the Shroud of Turin. It was on this cloth that Jesus took the first breath as the Risen One. Here Paul Badde has written a fascinating book on this true icon, a book to which the Heidelberg theologian Klaus Berger writes: “I have just read the book completely, immediately, and without getting up, and I think it’s true. It moved my heart.”
Cardinal Robert Sarah wrote: “Here in Manoppello we meet the face of God face to face, and when we look at Him, His gaze cleanses and heals us, God be blessed.”
And even more good news for Pilgrims to Manoppello! The Holy Face Hotel for Pilgrims, “La Casa Del Pellegrino” next to the Sanctuary Basilica has re-opened! Details may be found here on Raymond Frost’s Holy Face of Manoppello blogspot.
For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness.” has shone into our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory God on the Face of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor 6)
Prayer of Pope Benedict XVI in honor of his pilgrimage to see the Holy Veil of Manoppello
Lord Jesus, as the first Apostles, whom you asked: “What do you seek?” accepted your invitation to “Come and See,” recognizing you as the Son of God, the Promised Messiah for the world’s redemption, we too, your disciples in this difficult time, want to follow you and be your friends, drawn by the brilliance of Your Face, much desired, yet hidden. Show us, O Lord, we pray you, Your Face ever new; that mirror, mystery-laden, of God’s infinite mercy. Grant that we may contemplate it with the eyes of our mind and our hearts: the Son’s Face, radiance of the Father’s glory and the imprint of His Nature (cf. Hb 1:3), the human Face of God that has burst into history to reveal the horizons of eternity. The silent Face of Jesus, suffering and risen, when loved and accepted, changes our hearts and lives. “Your Face, Lord, do I seek, do not hide Your Face from me.” (Ps. 27:8ff) How many times through the centuries and millennia has resounded the ardent invocation of the Psalmist among the faithful! Lord, with faith, we too repeat the same invocation: “Man of suffering, as one from whom other hide their faces.” (Is. 53:3) Do not hide your Face from us! We want to draw from your eyes that look on us with tenderness and compassion the force of love and peace which shows us the way of life, and the courage to follow you without fear or compromise, so as to be witnesses of your Gospel with concrete signs of acceptance, love and forgiveness. O Holy Face of Christ, Light that enlightens the darkness of doubt and sadness, life that has defeated forever the force of evil and death, O inscrutable gaze that never ceases to watch over mankind. Face concealed in the Eucharistic signs and in the faces of those that live with us! Make us God’s pilgrims in this world, longing for the infinite and ready for the final encounter, when we shall see you, Lord, “face to face” (Cor. 13:12) and be able to contemplate you forever in heavenly Glory. Mary, Mother of the Holy Face, help us to have “hands innocent and a heart pure,” hands illumined by the truth of love and hearts enraptured by divine beauty, that transformed by the encounter with Christ, we may gift ourselves to the poor and the suffering, whose face reflect the hidden presence of your Son Jesus. Amen. Pope Benedict XVI Sept. 1, 2007, written in memory of his pilgrimage to the Sanctuary Basilica of the Holy Face in Manoppello, Italy, the year before, on Sept. 1, 2006.
“To express ourselves in accordance with the paradox of the Incarnation we can certainly say that God gave himself a human face, and consequently, from now on, if we truly want to know the Face of God, all we have to do is contemplate the Face of Jesus! In His Face we truly see who God is and what He looks like!” –Pope Benedict XVI (More on Pope Benedict XVI and the Holy Face here)
“There was in Him no stately bearing to make us look at Him, no appearance that would attract us to Him. He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity. One of those from whom men hide their faces, spurned and we held Him in no esteem. (Isaiah 53:2-3)
Youtube video of the changing Holy Face of Manoppello:
“O Beloved Face of Jesus! As we await the everlasting day when we contemplate Your infinite Glory our one desire is to charm Your Divine Eyes by hiding our faces too, so that here on earth no one can recognize us. O Jesus! Your veiled gaze is our heaven!”–St. Therese
*Video of Louis Antonio Cardinal Tagle speaking about his experience of seeing the Holy Face of Manoppello for the first time. (Click “cc” for closed captions in English) More information on his visit to Manoppello may be found (here).
“It is not an object of another time; it is the icon of the eternal Face, the Face of goodness and of friendship, of mercy and of peace. The Face that speaks, that examines, that asks, that awaits a response. It seems to say: ‘Look at me, you who are tired. Come to me and I will give you rest.’…” We fix our gaze on the Holy Face and we will be transformed by God’s mercy. The sign is not an end in itself; the sign is a pointer on the way of the return, the return to the Father.” –Archbishop Edmond Y. Farhat
Servant of God Padre Domenico da Case
*The Servant of God Padre Domenico da Cese, former Rector of the Shrine of Il Volto Santo, the Holy Face of Manoppello
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.
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.
(To read more of his Story- click here)
*Video about the life of Padre Domenico: The Long Road of Fr. Domenico, from Cese to Turin (click here)
To learn about another Saint of Manoppello, Saint Stephen del Lupo (of the wolf), there is a wonderful article by Antonio Bini on the Manoppello Blog Spot. (article here)
A new DVD was released in May about the history of the Holy Face of Manopppello (In Italian).
For details on the making of the documentary click here for Holy Face of Manoppello Blogspot.
Feast of Omnis Terra in Manoppello
“…We, today, fixing our gaze on His Holy Face, are filled with joy, we are admiring the superhuman beauty incarnate in our midst. He, God, became humble, became poor, became flesh among us and today he looks at us with that compassion full of love. And looking at us, we forget our sins, our failings; looking at us, He raises us to new life….I pray to the Lord so that he can give us this aura of goodness in our lives, so that each of us can fix our gaze on Jesus Christ present here before us. It is the risen Christ, my dear ones, it is the Christ who bears within himself the signs of His passion, of the crucifixion, but He is the Risen Christ who wants each one of us to rise again to new life. During this Holy Mass we continue to pray invoking and proposing to be new creatures capable of testifying to this great and sublime truth.” ~Mons. Americo Ciani, Canon of the patriarchal basilica of St. Peter’s in the Vatican. (Click here for the full Homily of Mons. America Ciani, at the Basilica Shrine of the Holy Face of Manopello, on the occasion of “Omni Terra” 2018, Annual Procession in honor of the Holy Veil. Thank you to Raymond Frost, Holy Face of Manooppello Blogspot!)
Amazing painting recovered after the Amtrice Earthquake points to the Manoppello Veil
Detail of 16 – 17th Century oil painting on canvas depicting the Ecstasy of St. Francis. The painting was saved from the ruins of the Church of San Francesco in Accumoli, Italy, which was destroyed in the August, 2016 earthquake. (photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)
*The Holy Face and Liturgy: July 8, 2016 – The National Catholic Register has featured a fascinating article and interview with Paul Badde by Edward Pentin on new research which suggest that the burial cloths of Jesus (The Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Manoppello) “have been central to the Roman liturgy for more than a millennium, and possibly from the earliest days of the Church: The Liturgy of the Cloth: How the Early Church Incorporated the Shroud and the Sudarium in the Mass (click here)
MEDIA: If you missed — THE HUMAN FACE OF GOD IN THE HOLY VEIL OF MANOPPELLO — which aired on EWTN, Tuesday, November 8th, you may still view it by clicking (here). Filmed on location in Italy, host Paul Badde introduces the Veil of Manoppello as he relates it to other images of the Holy Face of Jesus. (30 minutes).
THE LONG ROAD OF FR. DOMENICO FROM CESE TO TURIN which aired on EWTN, Nov. 17, at 6:30 pm EST (in U.S.) may also be seen (here) Paul Badde tells the story of the life of the Servant of God, Padre Domenico da Cese, former Rector of the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello. (Scroll down for the official prayer for his intercession.)
+And if you enjoyed the above videos please consider making a donation to EWTN for these wonderful programs!
Great books by Paul Badde – best-selling author, historian, journalist, and fervent apostle of The Holy Face of Manoppello has written some wonderful books about the Holy Face, Pope Benedict XVI, and Our Lady of Guadalupe (and many others) which may be found by clicking on their titles. “The Face of God: The Rediscovery of the True Face of Jesus”, “The True Icon: From the Shroud of Turin to the Veil of Manoppello”, “Maria of Guadalupe: Shaper of History, Shaper of Hearts”, and his latest book “Benedict Up Close: The Inside Story of Eight Dramatic Years.”
Other related articles of interest about the Holy Face of Manoppello:
*To learn the history of the Veil of the Face of Jesus “not made by human hands” through the centuries–chick (here).
*For post on Pilgrimage to Manoppello,Italy click here for Pt.1
*St. Michael, primary patron of the Holy Face (click here)
*CNA (Catholic News Agency) article about the Manopello image in which journalist Paul Badde interviews Archbishop Bruno Forte regarding his memories of the historic visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the Sanctuary: (click here for article)
On September 1, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI made his first pilgrimage as Pope to a little mountain village in Manoppello, Italy to venerate a veil with a miraculous image of The Face of Jesus. One year later, September 1, 2007 he elevated the Church of St. Michael to a Sanctuary Basilica. Pope Benedict XVI composed a prayer to Il Volto Santo in honor of the anniversary of his visit. Below is a portion of that prayer:
“Show us O Lord, we pray you, Your Face, ever new; that mirror, mystery-laden, of God’s infinite Mercy. Grant that we may contemplate it with the eyes of our minds, and our hearts: The Son’s Face, radiance of The Father’s Glory and imprint of His nature. The human Face of God, suffering and risen, when loved and accepted, changes the heart and life, “Your Face, Lord, do I seek, do not hide Your Face from Me!” (Psalm 27) (For the entire prayer click here )
The sheer byssus veil, which has been described a a “living image” due to its changing appearance, also known as “Il Volto Santo,” has been recently re-discovered: research reveals it to be the prototype of ancient images of Christ in both the Eastern and Western Church.
The face on the veil forensically matches the Face on the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo. An excellent book on the extensive research on these images is, “Jesus Christ, The Lamb and The Beautiful Shepherd – The Encounter with the veil of Manoppello” by Sr. Blandina Paschalis Schlomer, who conducted much of the research on the veil.
Il Volto Santo is a gossamer-thin veil, sheer enough to read through. This makes the veil very difficult to photograph. The camera can’t seem to focus. Photos seem flat and distorted compared to what is seen when viewing the veil in person. Two people standing next to each other will not see the same thing. My own experience was seeing the face as a living image, as though it were reflected in a mirror. The image truly appears as a “living image,” with great detail, which cannot be captured in a photograph. Gazing upon Il Volto Santo, I experienced the tremendous Mercy of God and indescribable PEACE!
The veil at times seems to disappear.
Special English Edition of “The Holy Face, from Manoppello to the World” produced for the Extraordinary Year of Mercy under the direction of Fr. Carmine Cucinelli, OFM, Cap., Rector of the Shrine of The Holy Face of Manoppello is now available online. More details by Raymond Frost on http://holyfaceofmanoppello.blogspot.com/ Click here and Enjoy!: Special English Language Edition of Il Volto Santo di Manoppello
|Paul Badde with Pope Benedict XVI in Manoppello on Sept. 1, 2006 surrounded by Archbishop Bruno Forte,
Fr. Andreas Resch, Fr. Heinrich Pfeiffer and Sr. Blandina Paschalis Schlomer
The official website for The Sanctuary of The Holy Face in Manoppello, Italy for pilgrims: (click here)
Another wonderful site for English-speaking people about Manoppello:
More on the Holy Face: There is an excellent post “More than an Abstraction,” the text from a conference given by Fr. Daren Zehnle. It is a very clear, well-documented and informative history of “The Veronica,” and the miraculous “Veil of Manoppello” in the context of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
It can be read on his “Servant and Steward”blog. (click here)
For information on the historic Roman Procession of the Holy Face of Manoppello from St, Peter’s Basiclica to Santo Spirito Church and Archbishop Ganswain’s beautiful homily click here. To read more about the rich spiritual and historical significance relating to The Veronica procession, there is a wonderful article by Antonio Bini on Manoppello blogspot (click here)
The Solemn Opening of The Holy Door at the Basilica Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello in the Jubilee Year of Mercy was on 1st of January, 2016, on the Solemnity of the Mother of God. The opening of the Holy Door was attended by thousands of the faithful. P. Carmine Cucinelli, Rector of the Basilica read the first line from Pope Francis’ Bull of Indiction, Misericordiae Vultus which is, “Jesus Christ is the Face of the Father’s mercy.” “We are touched by this expression“ – stressed p. Carmine – “which along with the one uttered by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in 2006: “This is a place for meditating on the divine by contemplating the icon of the Holy Face” “- encourages the assertion that here in Manoppello, in this church, we have the true image of Jesus, the face of the Father’s mercy. “ (details and photos may be found here.)
Anyone who enters the Door of Mercy will experience the love of God who consoles, who forgives and gives hope.
October 27, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the Papal household of Pope Francis and secretary to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, makes private visit to the Shrine of The Holy Face of Manoppello. Article by Antonio Bini on the visit (click here)
Prayer offering the Holy Face of Jesus to The Eternal Father
Eternal Father, turn away Your angry gaze from our guilty people whose face has become unsightly in your eyes. Look instead upon the Face of Your Beloved Son, for this is the Face of Him in Whom You are well pleased. We now offer You this Holy Face, covered with shame and disfigured by bloody bruises in reparation for the crimes of our age in order to appease Your anger, justly provoked against us. Because Your divine Son, Our Redeemer, has taken upon His Head all the sins of His members, that they might be spared, we now beg of You, Eternal Father, to grant us Mercy. Amen. (Archconfraternity of The Holy Face)
The miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Shroud of Turin, and “Il Volto Santo,” the veil of Manoppello all have something in common. They are all Acheiropoieta, a Greek word meaning: “made without hand.” They are said to have come into existence miraculously, not created by a human painter.
The extensive research that has been done on these three images, and the results are astounding. Although I have not been to Mexico to view the miraculous tilma of Our Lady, I have seen both the Holy Shroud of Turin and the Veil of Manoppello in person. Studying them has been my own personal passion.
Being an artist, (and near-sighted) I tend to look at things more closely. I study each little detail, shape, line, form, color, and value. I may spend hundreds of hours studying while I work. I can’t help but know every little nuance by the time I am done painting. Sr. Blandina Paschalis Schloemer, a Trappist nun from Germany, is also an artist, a painter of icons. Icon painting is very exact when it is done in the traditional manner. Sr. Schloemer began to notice striking similarities between ancient icons and images of the Face of Christ, and the images on the Shroud of Turin and the Veil of Manoppello. With the permission of her order the research has become her life’s work as well as part of her vocation.
Her research indicates that both images on the Shroud of Turin and the Manoppello Image are of the same man. I agree with her, wholeheartedly, although it is not at first glance apparent. There are also many similarities between these two images of Jesus’ Face and the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. First, all are on a cloth. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is on cactus fiber, which should have disintegrated hundreds of years ago according to scientists. The Shroud of Turin is on linen and the Manoppello Image is on woven sea-silk, called byssus.
Byssus is more rare and more precious than gold. Mentioned in the Bible, byssus, has a shimmering, iridescent quality which reflects light. Byssus is extremely delicate, yet strong at the same time. It resists water, weak acids, bases, ethers or alcohols. It can’t be painted, as it does not retain pigments, it can only be dyed; and then, only purple. Did I mention that it can last for more than 2000 years?
Another similarity between the Guadalupe image and the Manoppello image is the changeability of the images. Pilgrims have related how the image of Our Lady on the tilma appears to change in color, brightness and depth. Scientists can’t explain how the Guadalupe image appears on the tilma, it is not painted… it is “just there.” The Shroud of Turin has been described similarly. The veil of Manoppello, or “Il Volto Santo” as it is also known, is even more incredible, if that can be possible, because in addition to the image being on a veil so sheer that it can be read through, it also changes in detail, color, and shape. It even disappears… entirely. It is called a “living image” and so it is. No two people will see it in the same way. No single person will see it in the same way twice.
Julian of Norwich, the English mystic of the 14th century, mentions changeability as a characteristic of the Veil of Veronica in Rome, “the diverse changing of color and countenance, sometime more comfortably life-like, sometime more rueful and death-like.” The Veil of Veronica, it is now believed, was most likely stolen a hundred years later, during the sack of Rome. But, Julian of Norwichs’ description of the Veil of Veronica certainly fits “Il Volto Santo” of Manoppello.
But, there is more. There is something about the faces… if you study the faces in particular, especially the eyes, as one opthamalogist did. On the eyes of Our Lady of Guadalupe, you will notice that something. Similar research has been done on the eyes of “Il Volto Santo.” There are delicate, natural, details in all three images that cannot be accomplished without the aid of paint or brush, on a rough, cactus cloth, or on a linen burial shroud or on gossamer-thin sea-silk. If you have an opportunity, look closely. Yes, there is something about the faces, and it is something supernatural. They are not made by human hands, but by the Hand of God.
+Peace in Jesus
Holy Veil of Manoppello is a Mystery and a Gift!
Mystery or “Hoax”?
I would like to add a comment here about an anonymous accusation, by a misguided person, of a “hoax” regarding The Manoppello veil. The Shroud of Turin, has also been regarded as a hoax by some. Before making such a serious, baseless accusation, the accusers should study the abundant, meticulous, research and the images themselves, as well as the fruit. It would be a pretty poor hoax that would draw souls to contemplate the mystery of redemptive suffering on The Face of Christ and be moved to make reparation. My personal experience in viewing the Manoppello veil was profound. The “Il Volto Santo”, which I can best describe as a living human face, appeared as though it were reflected in a mirror, and could not, in my opinion be possible – humanly speaking, to create. It is, like the Shroud of Turin, not a hoax, but a mystery.
Possibly, the reason for the accusation is that some persons are attached to a particular favorite image of the Face of Jesus, and feel their devotion threatened in some way, which it should not be the case at all. Instead, unfortunately, they feel they have to throw mud in the face of other images, as well as on the good names of those who have dedicated their lives to research and search for the truth. That, I believe, is very, very wrong. We may contemplate The Face of Jesus from the moment of The Incarnation to His Passion and Death on The Cross, to His Resurrection and Ascension. St. Pope John Paul II himself said, ” We cannot stop at the image of The Crucified One. He is the Risen One!”
The point of contention, for some, seems to be whether or not the “Veil of Veronica” was stolen during the sack of Rome and replaced with a copy, for which there seems to be some evidence. The image known as The Holy Face of Tours was made after **The “Miracle of the Vatican” which occurred in 1849, during Epiphany; the Holy Face “veil” in the Vatican, after three days, glowed for three hours. The “miracle” was witnessed by numerous people, and copies (Holy Face of Tours) made at that time for public veneration. As great a miracle as it was, it neither proves nor disproves the true origin of the Veil or the existence or non-existence of St. Veronica, or authenticity of any particular image or revelations. Nor does it tell us anything to shed light on the mystery that has existed for centuries. What it does prove is that at a time of crisis, the Pope Pius IX requested that the veil, which had ceased to be shown in the Vatican, be exposed and after three days, a miracle occurred. The Church says it was a miracle and I believe it was. The purpose of all miracles are to strengthen us in our faith.
The history of the veil is very ancient, thus some stories regarding the “Veronica” veil cannot be verified and so seem to conflict. This should not trouble us, because it changes nothing about the importance and need for Devotion to The Holy Face. We should never presume to say with absolute certainty that we know all about what God has chosen to be kept hidden. God will reveal all as He pleases, when He pleases. In the meantime, all aspects of The Face of Jesus, should be reverenced and discussion should be conducted in all humility and charity. +Peace in Jesus.
** “In January, 1849, (nearly a year after the death of Sr. Marie St. Pierre) His Holiness Pope Pius IX, ordered that public prayers be offered in all the Churches of Rome to ask for God’s mercy upon the pontifical states. This order was given in Gaeta where the Holy Father had been forced to flee, because of revolutions. The Relic of Veronica’s Veil was exposed for public veneration. On the third day, “through another veil of silk which covers the true relic of Veronica’s Veil, and absolutely prevents the features from being distinguished, the Divine Face appeared distinctly, as if living, and was illumined by a soft light; the features assumed a death-like hue, and the eyes, deep-sunken, wore an expression of great pain.” Copies of the True Image were made and distributed. Some were given to the Prioress of the Benedictines at Arras. She, knowing of the revelations to Sr. Mary of St. Peter, sent a few copies of the Image to the Carmel of Tours. Upon receiving them, the Prioress immediately sent two of them to Leo Dupont. His reaction was one of hope that the Devotion to the Holy Face as given to Sr. Mary of St. Peter would be able to spread. The picture was a very
striking one, for in looking at the picture, we can get a true idea what our sins and malice cost the Divine Redeemer. But even more than this, one realizes that it is not the spittle and the bruises that made His agony so fierce. This picture shows the shame and the confusion He endured at being so inhumanly insulted. Here is revealed the Savior’s mental agony. Indeed, one is irresistibly drawn to love and console Our Sweet Savior when we contemplate His Face.” — Carmel of the Holy Face of Jesus, Discalced Carmelite Nuns, Hague, North Dakota
St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face is most often associated with the “Holy Face of Tours,” the image which was promoted in France in her lifetime; in fact, the whole Martin family joined the Confraternity of the Holy Face. But after the death of St. Therese (in 1897), the first photographic negatives of the Shroud of Turin could be seen thanks to the photographer Secondo Pia in 1898. The sister of St. Therese, Sr. Genevieve of the Holy Face (Celine), while marveling at the beautiful photographic negatives of the Face of Jesus on the Shroud of Turin, heard the voice of her sister St. Therese telling her,
“Paint Him! Paint Him as He truly is!” Sr. Genevieve, who was also an excellent artist, rendered a beautiful drawing of the Face on the Shroud of Turin, which won a silver medal in a Canadian exhibition.
Devotion to the Holy Face is not limited to one image; the devotion encompasses contemplation of the Face of Christ from the moment of the Incarnation onward, as He was formed and hidden in His Mother’s womb, and continuing through His Life, Death, and Resurrection. As Pope St. John Paul II has said, “We cannot stop at the image of the Crucified One; He is the Risen One!” While there are many beautiful images of the Face of Christ, the great gift of the Holy Face of Manoppello has been made known to the world in our time to give us hope in His Mercy, His Peace in the midst of trial, and to shine the light of His Face upon us–bringing light to our darkness.
“This Year of Mercy invites us to discover the core; to return to what is essential. This time of mercy calls us to look at the true Face of Our King, the one that shines out at Easter, to rediscover the youthful, beautiful Face of the Church…” –Pope Francis, close of the Year of Mercy. November 20, 2016