The Resurrection – “The Cloth That Covered His Head”

Re-posting this from April 2020: “The Cloth That Covered His Head” About three of several burial cloths of Christ: the Shroud of Turin, the Cloth of Oviedo, and the precious byssus veil that was believed to cover the Face of Christ in the tomb – known as “Il Volto Santo” – The Holy Face of Manoppello. Possibly the very reason that St. John “Saw and believed.”

Holy Veil of Manoppello said to be the image of the Resurrected Christ
Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection, Eugene Burnand, 1898

So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
For they did not yet understand the Scripture
that he had to rise from the dead.  (John 20: 1-9)

At the time of Jesus, the Jewish law required several “cloths” to be used for burial, and as many as six for someone who had died a violent death. Christian tradition has preserved six cloths as relics that are associated with the burial of Jesus – 1.) The Shroud of Turin, 2.) the Sudarium of Oviedo in Spain, 3.) The Sudarium Veil of Manoppello, 4.) The Sudarium of Kornelimunster in Germany, 5.) The SindonMunda of Aachen, Germany, 6.) The Cap of Cahors in France.

Three  of the cloths in particular stand out as extraordinary “witnesses” to the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus, and together they bear a powerful testimony to the truth of the Gospels. Each one bearing an imprint or image of the Face of Jesus. They are: The Sudarium of Oviedo, The Shroud of Turin, and the Sudarium Veil of Manoppello. The remarkable relationship between these three “cloths” leave little doubt that each came in contact with the face of the same man at the time of burial.

Sudarium of Oviedo

 The Sudarium of Oviedo directly touched Jesus’s head following His Crucifixion. Blood was considered sacred to the Jews, so this cloth was used to soak up the Precious Blood of Jesus, by wrapping it around Jesus’s Head, as He was taken down from the Cross. The largest bloodstains are from the nose, other stains are from the eyes and other parts of the face.  There is also an imprint on the sudarium of the hand of the person who held this cloth to Jesus’s Face to staunch the flow of blood. It takes one’s breath away to see that the bloodstains on the Sudarium of Oviedo, when overlaid with the Face on the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium Veil of Manoppello, correspond perfectly. The blood type is AB, the same as on the Shroud of Turin.

Face on the Shroud of Turin by photographer Secondo Pia, 1898

“He went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there”

The Shroud of Turin; the sindone, or linen burial shroud, was believed to have been used to wrap the entire body of Christ. It is the most famous and studied of the three cloths. The faint but visible imprint on the Shroud of Turin gives witness to the violent torture of a man as described in the Passion and Death of Jesus in the Scripture. The world was amazed when Secondo Pia first photographed the Face on the Shroud in 1898; the negative of the photo incredibly became visible as a positive image. The Shroud of Turin caused an entire branch of science to be dedicated to its research called Sindonology. 

The Sudarium Veil of the Face of Christ, Photo: Patricia Enk

 The Sudarium Veil of Manoppello, Italy, is perhaps the least known of the three burial “cloths.” The Veil bears the image of the living Face of Jesus. This “miracle of light,” “not made by human hands,” was protected and hidden in an isolated church in the Abbruzzi Mountains for centuries. It is believed to be the “cloth” that covered the Face of Jesus in death, showing traces of the Passion: Bruises, swelling, wounds from the Crown of Thorns, and plucked beard.  But, it is also believed to have recorded in light the Face of Jesus at the moment of His Resurrection. No, this is not a contradiction. Yes, the image changes. It shows suffering, but it also shows life!

“The cloth that had covered his head”

Funeral of Pope St. John Paul II, Archbishop Dziwisz covers the pope’s face with a veil.

An explanation about the tradition of a face cloth for burial may be helpful in understanding its profound significance:  In the funeral rites for priests in some Eastern churches, the veil which was used to cover the chalice and paten were placed on the face of the deceased priest. (The cloth used to cover the chalice and paten had a particular liturgical symbolism linked to the Face of Christ as well.) It was done as a symbol of both the strength and protection of God, and also of the tomb of Christ–an expression of belief in the Resurrection. In Jewish burial custom, a deceased priest’s face would be anointed with oil and then covered with a white cloth, and would have been done for Jesus.

When Pope St. John Paul II was being laid in his coffin, Archbishops Marini and Stanley Dziwisz had the honor of placing a white silk veil over the face of the pope. Poignantly, the choir sang the words from Psalm 42, “My soul thirsts for God, the living God; when will I come and see the Face of the Lord?” Many wondered about the action of covering the pope’s face with a veil because this was the first time it had been done, but was at the request of Pope John Paul II, who had dedicated the millennium to the Face of Christ.

Byssus “Pinna Nobilis” fit for a King! Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

The cloth that would cover the Face of Christ would have to be made of a material fit for a King, a High Priest, and a God. Byssus, mentioned in the Bible forty times, also known as “sea-silk,” is more rare and precious than gold and it has an exceedingly fine texture which can be woven. Made from the long tough silky filaments of Pinna Nobilis mollusks that anchor them to the seabed, it is strong enough to resist the extreme hydrodynamic forces of the sea. Byssus has a shimmering, iridescent quality which reflects light. It is extremely delicate, yet strong at the same time. It resists water, weak acids, bases, ethers, and alcohols. Byssus cannot be painted, as it does not retain pigments, it can only be dyed; and then, only purple.  It can also last for more than 2000 years.

Kurt Cardinal Koch contemplates the Veil “not made by human hands” of Manoppello. Sheer and delicate, yet the Face is visible. Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

The Sudarium Veil of Manoppello is also made of rare, precious, byssus silk.  The skill needed to weave a byssus veil as fine as the Veil of the Holy Face of Manoppello is exceedingly great.  Chiara Vigo, known as “the last woman who weaves byssus,” has said that neither she nor anyone alive today could duplicate the gossamer-thin veil, which is sheer enough to read a newspaper through.  The weave is so delicate, she says, that only the nimble fingers of a very skillful child could weave something so fine.

Miraculous Holy Face Veil Photo: Paul Badde (see “Manoppello Image” tab)

It is only through light that this shimmering image of the Face of Jesus may be seen, and at times appears as a “living image” as though it were reflected in a mirror, at other times the image completely disappears.  Although no camera can adequately capture the image, thanks to the many amazing photos of journalist Paul Badde, the changes that occur when viewing the veil may be better appreciated.  (Click here for more photos, and information about Paul Badde’s books and videos about the Holy Face.)

Servant of God Padre Domenico da Cese (1915-1978) before the Veil of Manoppello

While the Face on the Shroud of Turin clearly shows the Face of Jesus in death with eyes closed, the Sudariam of Manoppello has eyes open–bearing witness to the Resurrection. That was the ardent belief of the former Rector of the Basilica Shrine of the Holy Face, Servant of God Padre Domenico da Cese.  

There are many physiological reasons too for believing that the Face Cloth captures the first breath of the Resurrection. Sr. Blandina Paschalis Schlomer, who shares that belief, has provided meticulous research about the Veil in her book JESUS CHRIST, The Lamb and the Beautiful Shepherd, The Encounter with the Veil of Manoppello.  Sr. Blandina together with Fr. Fr. Heinrich Pfeiffer, S.J., Professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, have each demonstrated that the Holy Face on the Veil of Manoppello is the proto-image of the earliest icons, and other works of art depicting the Face of Jesus.

As the first rays of light entered the tomb, John and Peter, upon entering, “saw and believed.”               Sudarium Veil of Manoppello, Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

“…and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.”  

Pope Benedict XVI, who came as a pilgrim to Manoppello on September 1, 2006, Fr. Heinrich Pfeiffer, S.J., Paul Badde, and Sr. Blandina Schlomer

What did St. John see in the tomb that would cause him to believe? A cloth of blood, such as the Oviedo? The Shroud of Turin? It is a miraculous image, but shows the Face of a dead man. A third witness was needed in order for the disciple to believe. It could only have been evidence of something as astounding as the Resurrection; proof that Jesus was alive!

It is human nature to want to see things for ourselves. Many pilgrims, humble and great, have felt called to make the journey to visit the miraculous relic. If it is God’s handiwork, and I believe that is true, then one can only wonder at its existence, and gaze in silent contemplation, giving thanks for this tremendous gift of God… so we too may “see and believe.”

“We cannot stop at the image of the Crucified One; He is the Risen One!” –Pope St. John Paul II

Holy Face of Jesus of Manoppello (photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

“”While we too seek other signs, other wonders, we do not realize that He is the real sign, God made flesh; He is the greatest miracle of the universe:  all the love of God hidden in a human heart, in a human face.”  ~ Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI gazes at the Veil of the Holy Face in Manoppello, Photo:Paul Badde/EWTN

“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!”  (Portion of a prayer in honor of the Holy Face of Manoppello by Pope Benedict XVI)

Happy Easter!

Jesus Christ has truly risen indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

The byssus Veil of Manoppello, which is thought to be one of the burial cloths of Jesus, photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

Prayer to the Holy Face for the liberation from the coronavirus

 
Lord Jesus, Savior of the world, hope that will never disappoint us, have mercy on us and deliver us from all evil! Please overcome the scourge of this virus which is spreading, heal the sick, preserve the healthy, support those who work for the health of all. Show us your face of mercy and save us in your great love. We ask you through the intercession of Mary, Your Mother and ours, who faithfully accompanies us. You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

+ Bruno Forte
Archbishop of Chieti – Vasto (Italy)
+++
 

To learn more about the history of the Holy Face of Manoppello, click here to read “Four Stories, One Face.”

Or watch this wonderful video below, “The Human Face of God.”

And a recent Vaticano episode:

Digging Deeper to Reflect Christ’s Image

On March 29, 2016, I was driving from Louisiana to Hanceville, Alabama to pay my respects to a woman whom I had never met in my life, yet to whom I owed a great debt of gratitude. Everything that was most important to me was the result of this woman’s determination, suffering, and perseverance for the love of Jesus.

Mother Angelica born into Eternal life, Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016.

Born on April 20, 1923, Rita Antoinette Rizzo had a tough road ahead of her. Little Rita’s father had abandoned her family, forcing her mother and four brothers to move in with her grandparents, who owned a saloon. The neighborhood wasn’t exactly ideal for a child growing up; mob figures and prostitutes were part of the landscape in Canton, Ohio, at that time. She suffered greatly not only from poverty but poor health. Rita’s parents hadn’t been particularly religious either. But the Italian community had faith, and by God’s grace, Jesus gradually drew Rita closer.

Rita was what you would call “a tough cookie,” a hardheaded, hot tempered, wise-cracking kid. And to make a long story short; no-one expected that wise-cracking kid to become a contemplative nun and the foundress of a Poor Clare Monastery in the mostly Protestant south, or that she would start a world-wide Catholic television network, or that she would build a “Temple,” the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament at the request of the Child Jesus.

“The Saints determined, at some point in their lives, to follow Jesus. A vacuum deep in their souls began to be filled, for they found the Pearl of great price. They all changed their lives, some their state in life, but they did not get rid of their weaknesses. They fought harder, conquered more often, and grew like Jesus, in grace and wisdom before God and men.”

–Mother Angelica

How did something so unimaginable come about? There is no doubt Mother Angelica would point to the Eucharist as her answer. It was from the Blessed Sacrament that she drew her inspiration, her strength and courage to accomplish all that she had done. It was never easy, but she knew how to dig deep when things got tough.

“Sometimes, when the cross just seems too heavy and you can’t seem to carry it any longer, go to church to the Blessed Sacrament, if you can, or just in your living room, tell the Lord: I thirst for Your Love, for Your Understanding. Give me strength. Give me courage.”

–Mother Angelica

“In our life as Contemplatives, we may never see the fruit of all the prayers and penance we do.  It isn’t easy at first, but after a while as you dig deeper into your interior and Jesus comes along with light–it dawns on you, as it must, that the only thing that the Eternal Father wants from you and from me is to become transformed in Love.  Then, the Divine Image of His Son will be so clear in us that when He looks at us, He will see no one but Jesus.” 

— Mother Angelica

To be transformed in Love is also to share in Christ’s thirst for souls, an unquenchable desire to bring souls to Jesus. And that Mother Angelica did – millions of souls – from all over the globe, she drew souls to Jesus through contemplation of His Eucharistic Face, and as a result, her soul grew “brighter and brighter,” reflecting His Image.

“We all have some aspect of Our Lord’s life that we’re attracted to. And if we’re attracted to it, Is that all, to reflect like a mirror? No. We grow brighter and brighter. For what reason? To be turned into the image we reflect.”

— Mother Angelica

A few weeks ago, I returned to visit Mother’s Angelica’s tomb. The words of St. Paul are inscribed upon it:

“And we, with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; this is the work of the Lord Who is Spirit.”

2 Corinthians 3:18

Thank you, Mother Angelica, for restoring my faith. May you gaze on God’s Face for all eternity.

Hidden Face of Jesus Revealed

An amazing discovery was made inside the Chapel of St. Roch Cemetery No. 1, in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 2017. Hidden away where the tabernacle had been was an old, deteriorated painting of the suffering Face of Jesus. St. Roch’s Chapel had been badly damaged by water and termites following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Although the chapel had been built in the 1870’s, the age of the painting could not be determined. The challenging restoration, completed in 2021, revealed that the painting had been restored at least once before, and re-stretched on a frame, losing what appears to have been a painted cloth veil surrounding the face, as well as the date or signature of an artist – if indeed there was a signature on the original. (See the full Clarion Herald article by Beth Donze, and photos of damaged painting and restoration: Link to article )

Devotion to the Holy Face has long held a special place in the hearts of the faithful of Louisiana. The Confraternity of the Holy Face of Jesus, which originated in France, was established in New Orleans in 1883 — the first in the Americas — inspiring souls to contemplate the Face of the suffering Christ in reparation for blasphemy, and as an antidote to the atheistic revolution rearing its ugly head in the world, which became known as communism. Tens of thousands of people joined the confraternity and traveled to pray in the little Carmelite Monastery Chapel dedicated to the Holy Face on Barracks Street in New Orleans.

Carmelite nun Sr. Miriam (1923-2017) standing beside the the original replica image of the Holy Face of Tours from the old Carmelite Chapel in New Orleans.
Correction: circa 1329, the fresco is from the dome of St. Bartholomew in Frankfort, Germany, at the main river. (Thank you to Paul Badde!)

What is so fascinating about the painting of the Face of Christ from St. Roch’s Chapel are the eyes – which the viewer is immediately drawn to. The painting portrays Jesus with His eyes open, as it was commonly seen in works of art centuries before, when the actual relic of the true image, or ” Veronica,” could still be seen at the Vatican by pilgrims to Rome, and copied by artists. (History) After the Sack of Rome in 1527, it was reported that the Veronica had been stolen. Although the theft has never been admitted to by the Vatican – the loss of such a precious relic would have been scandalous – pilgrims were suddenly no longer able to view the veil.

(Link here to wonderful podcast by The Catholic Traveler on the controversial “veil” that is in Vatican.)

Later images of the face on the veil were more often portrayed in various ways: such as with a Crown of Thorns, as in the painting from St. Roch’s Chapel, or with the eyes closed, as in the image of the Holy Face of Tours. The restored image of the Face of Jesus in New Orleans seems to be a renewed invitation to look into the suffering eyes of Jesus with repentance, compassion and love.

It has been argued by some that it is more fitting to contemplate the Face of Christ with His eyes closed, as His Divinity is hidden. But didn’t those who knew Jesus look into His eyes and recognize their Savior? The Word became flesh. It was for this reason that God became incarnate, suffered, died and rose again, so that we may know and love Him.

The Ecstasy of St. Francis before the Holy Face 17th Century. The Face on the veil resembles the Veil of Manoppello which is believed to be the “true image” – the sudarium veil of Jesus. (photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

“True reverence for the Lord’s passion means fixing the eyes of our heart on Jesus crucified and recognizing in Him our own humanity.

The earth–our earthly nature–should tremble at the suffering of its Redeemer. The rocks–the hearts of unbelievers–should burst asunder. The dead, imprisoned in the tombs of their mortality, should come forth, the massive stones ripped apart. Foreshadowings of the future resurrection should appear in the holy city, the Church of God: what is to happen to our bodies should now take place in our hearts.”

–Pope St. Leo the Great
Looking into the eyes of the Holy Face Veil of Manoppello “the Living Face” Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

“While we too seek other signs, other wonders, we do not realize that He is the real sign, God made flesh; He is the greatest miracle of the universe:  all the love of God hidden in a human heart, in a human Face.” ~ Pope Benedict XVI  

St. Joseph – “He Will Increase”

St. Joseph, the image of the Father

Relationship with someone begins with a particular face and name. Through our faces we can communicate to another what is hidden deep within our souls. Names have meaning, giving a clue to shed light on the mystery of the person.  Our names, connected with our face become the basis of our relationship with others.  When we give our own name, and turn our face to others, we are giving something of ourselves. How our name is used by others, with respect and love, or with disrespect and hatred, will be reflected in our face.  

“The name is the icon of the person. It demands respect as a sign of the dignity of the one who bears it. The name one receives is a name for eternity. God calls each one by name. Everyone’s name is sacred.”

– Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2158-59

Therefore, St. Joseph’s name is an icon of his person, and the meaning of his name is a key to the treasures that are unveiled to those who are blessed to enter into a relationship with this great saint. The mysterious meaning of the name of Joseph is “He will increase.”

But, to little Jesus, St. Joseph’s name was “Abba” – Father, Daddy. His was the first man’s face that the Christ Child saw, with all the virtues reflected there – humility, patience, obedience, faith, hope, charity… St. Joseph’s face was the mirror of the image of God the Father, and his name was the echo of the Holy Name of God.

When we go to St. Joseph, as our model, in prayer and contemplation, “he will increase” grace, virtues, and God’s mercy in us. And Jesus will look on us, with eyes of love, as He looked upon the face of His father on earth, the glorious St. Joseph. What a tremendous blessing is this “Year of St. Joseph” for the Church and the world!

St. Joseph, pray for us!

Desire for the Vision of God

Paradiso, Gustave Doré

From the Proslogion by St. Anselm, Bishop

Insignificant man, escape from your everyday business for a short while, hide for a moment from your restless thoughts. Break off from your cares and troubles and be less concerned about your tasks and labors. Make a little time for God and rest a while in him.

Enter into your mind’s inner chamber. Shut out everything but God and whatever helps you to seek him. Speak now to God and say with your whole heart: I seek your face; your face, Lord, I desire.

Lord, my God, teach my heart where and how to seek you. Lord, if you are not here where shall I look for you in your absence? Yet if you are everywhere, why do I not see you when you are present? But surely you dwell in “light inaccessible.” And where is light inaccessible? How shall I approach light inaccessible? Or who will lead me and bring me into it that I may see you there? And then, by what signs and under what forms shall I seek you? I have never seen you, Lord my God; I do not know your face.

Lord, most high, what shall this exile do, so far from you? What shall your servant do, tormented by love of you and cast so far from your face? He yearns to see you, and your face is is too far from him. He desire to approach you, and your dwelling is inapproachable. He longs to find you, and does not know your dwelling place. He strives to look for you, and does not know your face.

Lord, you are my God and you are my Lord, and I have never seen you. You have made me and remade me, and you have given me all the good things I possess, and still I do not know you. I was made in order to see you, and I have not yet done that for which I was made.

Lord, how long will it be? How long, Lord, will you forget us? How long will you turn your face away from us? When will you look upon us and hear us? When will you enlighten our eyes and show us your face? When will you give your self back to us?

Look upon us, Lord, hear us and enlighten us, show us your very self. Restore yourself to us that it may go well with us whose life is so evil without you. Take pity on our efforts and our striving toward you, for we have no strength apart from you.

Teach me to seek you, and when I seek you show yourself to me. for I cannot seek you unless you teach me, nor can I find you unless you show yourself to me. Let me seek you in desiring you and desire you in seeking you, find you in loving you and love you in finding you.

Christ Carrying His Cross, Hieronymus Bosch
Listen to my voice, Lord, when I call
... Your Face, Lord, do I seek!
Hide not Your Face from me!
-- Psalm 27

Feast of the Holy Face 2021

“Salvator Mundi” by Quentin Metsys, c. 1505

“Christ’s response, ‘Whoever has seen me, has seen the Father, lead us into the heart of Christological faith.’ ” — Pope Benedict XVI

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

The Act of Consecration to the Holy Face of Jesus

O Lord Jesus, we believe most firmly in You, we love You.  You are the Eternal Son of God and the Son Incarnate of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  You are the Lord and Absolute Ruler of all creation.  We acknowledge You, therefore, as the Universal Sovereign of all creatures.  You are the Lord and Supreme Ruler of all mankind, and we, in acknowledging this Your dominion, consecrate ourselves to You now and forever.  Loving Jesus, we place our family under the protection of Your Holy Face, and of Your Virgin Mother Mary most sorrowful.  We promise to be faithful to You for the rest of our lives and to observe with fidelity Your Holy Commandments.  We will never deny before men, You and Your Divine rights over us and all mankind.  Grant us the grace to never sin again; nevertheless, should we fail, O Divine Saviour, have mercy on us and restore us to Your grace.  Radiate Your Divine Countenance upon us and bless us now and forever.  Embrace us at the hour of our death in Your Kingdom for all eternity, through the intercession of Your Blessed Mother, of all Your Saints who behold You in Heaven, and the just who glorify You on earth.  O Jesus, be mindful of us forever and never forsake us; protect our family.  O Mother of Sorrows, by the eternal glory which you enjoy in Heaven, through the merits of your bitter anguish in the Sacred Passion of your Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, obtain for us the grace that the Precious Blood shed by Jesus for the redemption of our souls, be not shed for us in vain.  We love you, O Mary.  Embrace us and bless us, O Mother.  Protect us in life and in death.  Amen. 

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.  Amen.

Derick Baegert, 1470

 

The Sudarium Veil of the Human Face of God 

 
Holy Veil of Manoppello said to be the image of the Resurrected Christ
Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
Since ancient times a veil bearing the image of the Face of Christ has been venerated in the Church. How did we come to recognize this face as the Human Face of Jesus Christ?
“When Simon Peter arrived after him [John], he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.” –John 20:6-7

Scripture goes on to say that “the disciple” John, who had arrived at the tomb first went in after St. Peter, “and he saw and believed.” (John 20: 8)  What did St. John see that caused him to believe in the Resurrection? Perhaps the body was stolen. The cloths used to soak up the sacred blood? (The sudarium of Oviedo) That would be expected. The cloth now known as the Shroud of Turin?  The faint marks on the cloth could not be seen clearly, especially within a darkened tomb, and the image on the Shroud of Turin is that of Jesus in death. Perhaps what had caused St. John to believe was the “cloth that had covered his head,” revealing in a miraculous way the Face of the living and Risen Christ.

The Holy Veil of the”Holy Face of Manoppello” in Italy Photo:Paul Badde/EWTN

 

St. Veronica sudarium displaying the Veil of the Holy Face
 
We can look at ancient mosaics and paintings and immediately recognize the Face of Jesus. But why this particular face, one that bears signs of the Passion yet at the same time is a living face miraculously present on a veil?
Legends and traditions have varied through the centuries but the face is the same. The image was known by many names, but the veil came to be known as “the Veronica,” Vera Icon, the true image. (See Four Stories, One Face
Later, in the twelfth century legends sprang up about a woman who wiped the Face of Jesus on Calvary, who came to be known as “St. Veronica.”  The story of St.Veronica points to the deepest truth about devotion to the Face of Christ  —  which is that each act of charity, every act of compassion, will leave the imprint of the Face of Jesus in our souls, transforming us into His own Image.
 
Detail of the Veil of the Face of Jesus from the precious manuscript “Liber Regulae Sancti Spiritus in Saxia”
Fresco of ciborium that existed in 708 containing sudarium of the “Veronic” True Icon

Pilgrims traveled great distances to see the relic veil of the “Veronica” at the Vatican. During the Sack of Rome, in 1527, it was rumored that the “Veronica” had been stolen, and another “Veil” had taken its place –it was not a sheer cloth on which the face of Jesus could be seen from both sides — but instead, it showed the face of Christ in death, with his eyes closed. The faithful, under pain of excommunication, were to return copies of the Veronica showing the living Face of Jesus. Devotion to the Face of Christ gradually dwindled. The “Veronica” was no longer shown publicly, except at a great distance.  However, the Face as it had been seen on the original veil could still be seen in the artwork of churches across Europe.

Detail depicting the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the “Veronic” Veil.
Opusculum by Jacopo Grimaldi (altered date of 1618) shows a living face of “the Veronica Veil” on Vatican inventory
After the Sack of Rome, Opusculum of the Holy Face by Francesco Speroni inventory shows the face of a dead man.
Copy made of the later “Veronica Veil ” by Pietro Strozzi, Vienna, which looked nothing like the original “living face.”

Many centuries later, in 1849, a time of great crisis in the Church, Pope Pius IX asked that the darkened cloth, held at the Vatican be exposed for the faithful to pray and beg God’s mercy and help. After three days, the faithful were rewarded for their perseverance in prayer: a face, with eyes closed, appeared to glow for three hours on the greatly darkened cloth. This was known as the Epiphany Miracle. Copies were made at once by artists, and once again devotion to the Holy Face was renewed for a time. The Archconfraternity of the Holy Face was approved and prayers were offered before the Holy Face in reparation for blasphemy, sacrilege, the profanation of the Holy Name, and the Holy day of Sunday, as well as prayers for then end of atheistic communism, which was then just rearing its ugly head in the world.

"Holy Face of Tours"
Image venerated  after “The miracle of the Vatican” in 1849 – known also as the “Holy Face of Tours”
St. Therese

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.

“Jesus, Your ineffable image is the star which guides my steps. Ah, You know, Your sweet Face is for me Heaven on earth. My love discovers the charms of Your Face adorned with tears. I smile through my own tears when I contemplate your sorrows.”

“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. Therese

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, revealing the face of a crucified man in death:

The Shroud of Turin

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!”

Drawing of The Shroud of Turin by Sr. Genevieve of the Holy Face (Celine Martin, the sister of St. Therese)
Drawing of the Shroud of Turin by Sr. Genevieve of the Holy Face (Celine Martin, the sister of St. Therese)

Sr. Genevieve of the Holy Face, 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.

 

Veronica’s Veil, Flemish 15th Century “Veronica” or “true image”

But what happened to the “Vera Icon”, the true image, the recognizable living face of Jesus on a precious sheer veil, as portrayed in this artwork centuries before?

Another image of the Face of Jesus fits the unique characteristics of the stolen miraculous “Veronica” veil of the Vatican — a sheer byssus veil with a living face — It is the Holy Veil of Manoppello. History throughout the centuries recorded what the original “True Icon” looked like.

Pope Benedict XVI gazes at the Veil of the Holy Face in Manoppello, Photo:Paul Badde/EWTN

Although the Veil of Manoppello had been hidden away for centuries in the mountain village of Manoppello, Italy, it has been recently “re-discovered.” (Paul Badde has written about this in The Human Face of God: the Holy Veil of Manoppello) Pilgrims throughout the world are now able to see this “miracle of light” on a sheer veil which reveals the Face of Jesus from both sides.

https://www.souvenirvoltosanto.com/video/TOTEM_inglese.mp4

Like the Shroud of Turin, the image is “not made by human hands,” and shows no traces of pigment. The former Rector of the Shrine of the Holy Face, the Servant of God Padre Domenico da Cese, believed the Holy Veil of Manoppello to be the sudarium veil — “the cloth that had covered His Head.” The Veil shows not only traces of the Passion but is also said to have recorded the first moment of the Resurrection — something so amazing that it caused Sts. Peter and John to believe that Jesus had Ressurected from the dead! Pope St. John Paul II, who dedicated the millennium to the Face of Christ, has said, “We cannot stop at the image of the Crucified One; He is the Risen One!”  The Holy Veil of Manoppello bears witness to the Incarnation, the life, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; “true God and true man.”  St. Padre Pio called the Veil of Manoppello “the greatest relic of the Church.”  

“It is the Church’s task to reflect the light of Christ in every historical period, to make His Face shine before the generations of the new millennium.  Our witness, however, would be hopelessly inadequate if we ourselves had not first contemplated His FACE!”  – Pope St. John Paul II

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, and His Peace in the midst of trial — to shine the light of His Face upon us – bringing light to the darkness of our world. If you cannot go to Manoppello as a pilgrim, as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI did in 2006, you can enjoy these incredible, beautiful photos of the Holy Veil by Paul Badde:

The sheer Veil of Manoppello Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
Hand behind the sheer Veil of Manoppello, “not made by human hand” clearly shows the miraculous nature of “Il Volto Santo” Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
Gossamer-thin veil of Manoppello
Photo by Paul Badde
Holy Veil of Manoppello, Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
Holy Face of Manoppello Veil, Photo by Paul Badde/EWTN
“Il Volto Santo” The Holy Face of Manoppello. (Photo by Paul Badde/EWTN)
The Holy Face of Manoppello, (Photo: Paul Badde)
Holy Face of Manoppello, Italy Photo: Paul Badde
The Veil of the Holy Face of Manoppello “the Living Face”
Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
 

Prayer to reproduce the Image of God in our souls

Our Lord told Sr. Marie St. Pierre, a Discalced Carmelite Nun, from France, that the image of His Holy Face is like a Divine stamp, which if applied to souls, through prayer, has the power of imprinting anew within them the Image of God.

I salute You!  I adore you and I love you, O adorable face of my beloved Jesus, as the noble stamp of the Divinity!  Completely surrendering my soul to You, I most humbly beg You to stamp this seal upon us all, so the image of God may once more be reproduced in our souls.  Amen.

"Il Volto Santo" Holy Face of Manoppello, Italy

 

“Il Volto Santo” Holy Face of Manoppello, Italy

“All of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image.” (2Cor 3:18)

St. Veronica, the model of reparation to The Holy Face

 

Hans Memling’s “St. Veronica c.1470-75  – St. Veronica, the model of reparation to The Holy Face
Click here to learn “What does it mean to be “a Veronica?”

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Happy Feast of the Holy Face!

May the Lord bless and keep you; may He make His Face shine upon and be merciful to you; may He turn His Countenance toward you and grant you His PEACE! (Num 6:22-27)
Padre Pio called the Holy Veil of Manoppello the “greatest relic of the Church” photo: Patricia Enk
 

Holy Face Novena 2021 – Day Nine

Holy Face Novena – Day 9 

“Oh Savior Jesus, who did will that reparation should be as public and universal as had been the offense, penetrate us with the true spirit of reparation.  Give us the grace to love Your Divine Face, to make it known and loved by the whole world, in order that it may be to us a source of light and means of salvation.  Amen.” –Bl. Maria Pierina de Micheli, “Missionary of the Holy Face”

(Detail) painting by Hans Holbein the elder. Photo: Paul Badde
Detail of painting by Hans Holbein the elder. Photo: Paul Badde

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Prayer to the Holy Trinity

The Man of Sorrows in the arms of the Virgin Mary, by Hans MemlingPrayer to the Holy Trinity

O Most Holy and Blessed Trinity, through the intercession of Holy Mary, whose soul was pierced through by a sword of sorrow at the sight of the passion of her Divine Son, we ask your help in making a perfect Novena of reparation with Jesus, united with His sorrows, love and total abandonment.

We now implore all the Angels and Saints to intercede for us as we pray this Holy Novena to the Most Holy Face of Jesus and for the glory of the most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Ninth Day

Psalm 51: 18-21

For in sacrifice you take no delight, burnt offering from me you would refuse, my sacrifice a

Altar of The Holy Face, St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York
Altar of The Holy Face, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York

contrite spirit.  A humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn.  In your goodness, show favor to Zion; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.  Then you will be pleased with lawful sacrifice, holocausts offered on your altar.

Sacred Face of our Lord and our God, what words can we say to express our gratitude?  How can we speak of our joy?  That you have deigned to hear us, that you have chosen to answer us in our hour of need.  We say this because we know that our prayers will be granted.  We know that you, in your loving kindness, listened to our pleading hearts, and will give, out of your fullness, the answer to our problems.

Mary our Mother, intercede for us, St. Joseph, pray for us.

Through the merits of your precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, …Pardon and mercy.

Prayer to the Holy Trinity

Sr. Lucia's vision of The Trinity at Tuy
Sr. Lucia’s vision of The Trinity

Most Holy Trinity, Godhead indivisible, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, our first beginning and our last end.  Since you have made us after your own image and likeness, grant that all the thoughts of our minds, all the words of our tongues, all the affections of our hearts and all our actions may be always conformed to your most Holy Will, so that that after having seen you here on earth in appearances and in a dark manner by the means of faith, we may come at last to contemplate you face to face, in the perfect possession of you forever in paradise.  Amen.

Pray one (1) Our Father, three (3) Hail Mary’s, one (1) Glory Be.

Tomorrow is the Feast of the Holy Feast and Act of Consecration

Our Lord told Sr. Marie St. Pierre that the image of His Holy Face is like a Divine stamp, which if applied to souls, through prayer, has the power of imprinting anew within them the Image of God.

Shroud of Turin
Holy Face on the Shroud of Turin

Prayer to reproduce the Image of God in our souls

I salute You!  I adore you and I love you, O adorable face of my beloved Jesus, as the noble stamp of the Divinity!  Completely surrendering my soul to You, I most humbly beg You to stamp this seal upon us all, so the image of God may once more be reproduced in our souls.  Amen.

“Living” Face of Jesus on the miraculous Veil of Manoppello. Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
Click here to learn more about “Il Volto Santo” Holy Face of Manoppello, Italy

“All of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image.” (2 For: 3:18)

Tomorrow, Tuesday, February 16th will be The Feast of the Holy Face and The Act of Consecration to the Holy Face

“It is the Church’s task to reflect the light of Christ in every historical period, to make His Face shine before the generations of the new millennium.  Our witness, however, would be hopelessly inadequate if we ourselves had not first contemplated His FACE!”  –St. Pope John Paul II

May the Lord bless and keep you; may He make His Face shine upon and be merciful to you; may He turn His Countenance toward you and grant you His PEACE! (Num 6:22-27)

Padre Pio called the Holy Veil of Manoppello the “greatest relic of the Church” photo: Patricia Enk

Holy Face Novena 2021 – Day Eight

Holy Face Novena – Day 8:

14th Century Crucifix, St. Peter’s Basilica

 Adorable Face of my Jesus, my only love, my light and my life, grant that I may see no one, except Thee, that I may love Thee alone, that I may live with Thee, of Thee, by Thee and for Thee.  Amen

“Gaze at Jesus, our model.  Let us copy Him; He is our example in all.  Let us study Him in all the moments of His Life,, and let us not be content with an intellectual study, but with love that penetrates the divine teachings, and let us transform them into our very being.”  –Bl. Mother Pierina de Micheli, “Missionary of the Holy Face”

Daily Preparatory Prayer

O Most Holy and Blessed Trinity, through the intercession of Holy Mary, whose soul was pierced through by a sword of sorrow at the sight of the passion of her Divine Son, we ask your help in making a perfect Novena of reparation with Jesus, united with His sorrows, love and total abandonment.

We now implore all the Angels and Saints to intercede for us as we pray this Holy Novena to the Most Holy Face of Jesus and for the glory of the most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Eighth Day

Psalm 51: 16-17

O rescue me, God my helper, and my tongue shall ring out your goodness.  O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.

The Good Shepherd

Most merciful Face of Jesus, who in this vale of tears was so moved by our misfortunes to call yourself the healer of the sick, and the Good Shepherd of the souls gone astray, allow not satan to draw us away from you, but keep us always under your loving protection, together with all souls who endeavor to console you.

Mary our Mother, intercede for us, St. Joseph, pray for us.

Through the merits of your precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, …Pardon and mercy.

Prayer to St. Peter

Denial of St. Peter by Carl Bloch
O Jesus, the divine look of whose adorable Face wounded the heart of Peter with repentant sorrow and love, have mercy on us.

O glorious St. Peter, who in return for thy lively and generous faith, thy profound and sincere humility and thy burning love, was honored by Jesus Christ with singular privileges, and in particular, with the leadership of the other apostles and the primacy of the whole church, of which thou was made the foundation stone, do thou obtain for us the grace of a lively faith, that shall not fear to profess itself openly in its entirety and in all of its manifestations, even to the shedding of blood, if occasion should demand it, and to the sacrifice of life itself in preference to surrender.  Obtain for us likewise a sincere loyalty to our Holy Mother the Church.  Grant that we may ever remain most closely and sincerely united to The Holy Father, who is the heir of  thy faith and of thy authority, the one true visible head of the Catholic Church.  Grant moreover, that we may follow, in all humility and meekness, the Church’s teaching and counsels and may be obedient to all her precepts, in order to be able here on earth to enjoy a peace that is sure and undisturbed, and to attain one day in heaven to everlasting happiness.  Amen.

Pray one (1) Our Father, three (3) Hail Mary’s, one (1) Glory Be.

O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3 times)

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Click here for NCR article “Liturgy of the Cloth” about the significance of the burial cloths of Jesus and the liturgy of the Mass.

The Mass of St. Gregory I by Robert Campin 15th Century

O Jesus, whose venerable Face is worthy of all reverence, veneration, and worship — Have Mercy on us!

 

Holy Feast Novena 2021 – Day Seven

Holy Face Novena – Day 7:

Sorrowful Mother of The Holy Face
Sorrowful Mother of The Holy Face, Shirburn Chapel England

“This novena which Jesus desires transforms us to correspond with His love, and thus unites us to the Divine Victim, offering ourselves on all the altars of the world to be with Him–true souls of reparation, in union with the Immaculate Virgin–the first Reparatrix.”  –Bl. Mother Maria Pierina de Micheli, “Missionary of the Holy Face”

 

Daily Preparatory Prayer

O Most Holy and Blessed Trinity, through the intercession of Holy Mary, whose soul was pierced through by a sword of sorrow at the sight of the passion of her Divine Son, we ask your help in making a perfect Novena of reparation with Jesus, united with His sorrows, love and total abandonment.

We now implore all the Angels and Saints to intercede for us as we pray this Holy Novena to the Most Holy Face of Jesus and for the glory of the most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Seventh Day

Psalm 51: 14-15

Give me again the joy of your help, with a spirit of fervor sustain me, that I may teach

"Behold the Man!"
ECCE HOMO! “Behold the Man!”

transgressors your ways and sinners may return to you.

Lord Jesus!  After contemplating Thy features, disfigured by grief, after meditating upon Thy passion with compunction and love, how can our hearts fail to be inflamed with a holy hatred of sin, which even now outrages Thy Adorable Face!  Lord suffer us not to be content with mere compassion, but give us grace so closely to follow Thee in this Calvary, so that the opprobrium destined for Thee may fall on us.  O Jesus, that thus we may have a share, small though it may be, in expiation of sin.  Amen.

Mary our Mother, intercede for us, St. Joseph, pray for us.

Through the merits of your precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, …Pardon and mercy.

"Lord, grant to your Church to stand like Your Virgin Mother, at the glorious Cross and all the crosses of all people to bring about consolation, hope and comfort." -- St. Pope John Paul II

“Lord, grant to your Church to stand like Your Virgin Mother, at the glorious Cross and all the crosses of all people to bring about consolation, hope and comfort.” — St. Pope John Paul II

 

Mater Dolorosa by Dieric Bouts, 1470-75

Prayer in Honor of Mary

Hail Mary, Daughter of God the Father!  Hail Mary, Mother of God the Son!  Hail Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit!  Hail Mary, Temple of The Most Holy Trinity!  Hail Mary, our mistress, our wealth, our mystic rose, Queen of our hearts, our Mother, our life, our sweetness and our dearest hope!  We are all thine, and all we have is thine.  O Virgin blessed above all things, may Thy soul be in us to magnify the Lord; may Thy spirit be in us to rejoice in God.  Place Thyself, O faithful Virgin, as a seal upon our hearts, that in Thee and through Thee we may be found faithful to God.  Grant, most gracious Virgin, that we may be numbered among those who Thou are pleased to love, to teach and to guide, to favor and to protect as Thy children.  Grant that with the help of Thy love, we may despise all earthly consolation and cling to heavenly things, until through the Holy Spirit, Thy faithful spouse and through Thee, His faithful spouse, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, be formed within us for the glory of the Father.  Amen.  (St. Louis De Montfort)

Pray one (1) Our Father, three (3) Hail Mary’s, one (1) Glory Be.

O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3 times)

 

Pieta, with Holy Trinity and Blessed Mother, (Jean Malouel 1400-1410) Met Museum

 

 

Holy Face Novena 2021 – Day Six

Holy Face Novena – Day 6:

Click here to learn “What does it mean to be a Veronica?”

What are our sufferings when we think of those of Jesus?  Have we perhaps sweated blood?  Have we received blows and spittle, been scourged and crowned with thorns?…And what can we possibly give Jesus save a heart desirous of loving Him…to desire nothing save His Will?  — Bl. Mother Maria Pierina de Micheli

Daily Preparatory Prayer

O Most Holy and Blessed Trinity, through the intercession of Holy Mary, whose soul was pierced through by a sword of sorrow at the sight of the passion of her Divine Son, we ask your help in making a perfect Novena of reparation with Jesus, united with His sorrows, love and total abandonment.

We now implore all the Angels and Saints to intercede for us as we pray this Holy Novena to the Most Holy Face of Jesus and for the glory of the most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Sixth Day

Psalm 51: 12-13

A pure heart create for me, O God, put a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence not deprive me of your Holy Spirit.

Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit

May our hearts be cleansed, O Lord, by the in-pouring of the Holy Spirit, and may He render them fruitful by watering them with His heavenly dew.  Mary, the most chaste spouse of the Holy Spirit, intercede for us, St. Joseph, pray for us.

Through the merits of your precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, …Pardon and mercy.

Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel *

(Click here for more about St. Michael and the Holy Face)

“Who is like God?” St. Michael holding high the Face of Jesus (Sculpture by Cody Swanson)

O Victorious Prince, most humble guardian of the Church of God and of faithful souls, who with such charity and zeal took part in so many conflicts and gained such great victories over the enemy, for the conservation and protection of the honor and glory we all owe to God, as well as for the promotion of our salvation; come, we pray Thee, to our assistance, for we are continually besieged with such great perils by our enemies, the flesh, the world and the devil; and as Thou wast a leader for the people of God through the desert, so also be our faithful leader, and companion through the desert of this world, until Thou conduct us safely into the happy land of the living, in that blessed fatherland from which we are all exiles.  Amen.  (St. Aloysius)

Pray one (1) Our Father, three (3) Hail Mary’s, one (1) Glory Be.

O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3 times)

St. Michael, sculpture by Cody Swanson, Old St. Patrick’s New Orleans (photo: Patricia Enk)

*[St. Michael, whose battle-cry is “Who is like God?” is the Patron of the Arch-Confraternity of The Holy Face, which was canonically erected in the Chapel of the Discalced Carmelite nuns of New Orleans by Archbishop Perche in 1883, the first in The United States. From that humble oratory, devotion to The Holy Face spread throughout the Americas.