The Great Devotion of St. Therese

St. Therese of Lisieux as a child

 St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face is more commonly known for her way of “Spiritual Childhood” and devotion to The Child Jesus, however, her sister, Mother Agnes gave this testimony for St. Therese’ beatification:

“Devotion to the Holy Face was the Servant of God’s special attraction.  As tender as was her devotion to the Child Jesus, it cannot be compared to her devotion to the Holy Face.”  

St. Therese’ sister Celine (Sr. Genevieve of the Holy Face), also wrote: “Devotion to the Holy Face was, for Therese, the crown and complement of her love for the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord.  The Blessed Face was the mirror wherein she beheld the Heart and Soul of her Well-Beloved.  Just as the picture of a loved one serves to bring the whole person before us, so in the Holy Face of Christ Therese beheld the entire Humanity of Jesus.  We can say unequivocally that this devotion was the burning inspiration of the Saint’s life… Her devotion to the Holy Face transcended, or more accurately, embraced, all the other attractions of her spiritual life.”

St. Therese

Canticle to 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.

Oh! To console You I want To live unknown on earth! Your beauty, which You know how to veil, Discloses for me all its mystery. I would like to fly away to You!

Your Face is my only homeland. It’s my Kingdom of love. It’s my cheerful meadow. Each day, my sweet sun. It’s the Lily of the Valley Whose mysterious perfume Consoles my exiled soul, Making it taste the peace of Heaven.

It’s my Rest, my Sweetness And my melodious Lyre Your Face, O my Sweet Savior, Is the Divine Bouquet of Myrrh I want to keep on my heart!

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, And soon I’ll become holy. I shall draw hearts to You.

So that I may gather A beautiful golden harvest, Deign to set me aflame with Your Fire. With Your adorned mouth, Give me soon the Eternal Kiss!

~ St. Therese of the Holy Face and the Child Jesus
Detail of Holy Face from painting by St. Therese

“Look at His adorable Face, His glazed and sunken eyes, His wounds. Look Jesus in the Face. There you will see how He loves us.”

St. Therese reliquary carried in procession in front of the Basilica Sanctuary of the Holy Face of Manoppello. (Photo: Paul Badde)
St. Therese reliquary covered with rose petals. Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello. (Photo: Paul Badde)

On November 4, 2006, the relics of St. Therese travelled to the Basilica Shrine of the “Il Volto Santo,” the Holy Face of Manoppello, Italy. Below is a beautiful, poem/meditation on the Holy Face by St. Therese together with images of that miraculous image on the Veil of Manoppello:

Holy Face Veil of Manoppello, Italy (Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

“O Adorable Face of Jesus! Our souls understand Your language of love; we want to dry Your gentle Face and to console You for the forgetfulness of the wicked. In their eyes You are still as one hidden; they look upon You as an object of contempt…

Face more beautiful than the lilies and roses of springtime! You are not hidden from our eyes…The Tears that veil Your divine look seem to us like precious Diamonds which we want to collect to buy the souls of our brothers and sisters with their infinite value.

Veil of Manopello, Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

From Your Adorable Mouth we have heard Your loving complaint. Since we know that the thirst which consumes You is a thirst for Love, we would wish to have an infinite Love to quench Your thirst…Beloved Bridegroom of our souls, if we had the love of all hearts, all that love would be for You! Then, heedless of our exile on the banks of Babylon, we will sing for your Ears the sweetest melodies. Since You are the true, the only Homeland of our hearts, we will not sing our songs in an alien land.

Eyes of Manoppello, photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
“The Living Face” of The Veil of Manoppello
Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

O Beloved Face of Jesus! As we await the everlasting day when we will 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 of the Holy Face and the Child Jesus

+++

Hurricane Ida hits Discalced Carmelite Nuns in Louisiana

The Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Covington, Louisiana will not have the annual “Mass of the Roses”  in honor of St. Therese this year. Last year, the special Mass was cancelled due to Covid; this year our nuns suffered damage to their monastery and property, from wind and fallen trees during Hurricane Ida. (Photos of the damage may be seen here.) Since it was their only fundraiser, it is hoped that generous souls might be moved to send a donation. Please pray for  these dear Nuns who pray for us all! If you would like to contribute, donations may be mailed to:

The Discalced Carmelite Nuns, 73530 River Rd, Covington, LA, USA 70435

Some of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns, and friends at a past Mass of the Roses in honor of St. Therese

May God reward you for your generosity!

“Let the little children come to me.” Photo: Patricia Enk

 “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.”

St. Therese shortly after her death