Annual Mass of the Roses in honor of St. Therese

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

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

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

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

 

“St. Therese doll” handmade by the Carmelite nuns

Many gifts, food, and handmade items may be purchased; the proceeds will help the Carmelite nuns meet their financial needs for the year. Delicious refreshments will be served after the Mass, thanks to many gracious sponsors and volunteers.  Hand-made items by the sisters, as well as cookies, pies and bread from the Sister’s kitchen will be for sale as well as a variety of religious articles, books and gifts. A  children’s area will be set up for face-painting, artwork and other fun activities. A special table will also be set up for Holy Face books, Chaplets, Images and Medals.

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

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

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

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

 

Prayer of St. Therese to The Holy Face

“O adorable Face of Jesus, sole beauty which ravishes my heart, vouchsafe to impress on my soul Your divine likeness so that it may not be possible for You to look at Your spouse without beholding Yourself!  O my Beloved, for love of You I am content not to see here on earth the sweetness of Your glance, nor to feel the ineffable kiss of Your sacred lips, but I beg of You to inflame me with Your love so that it may consume me quickly and that soon I may behold Your glorious countenance in Heaven.” 

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

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

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

A Hidden Soul

Sr. Miriam of the Mystical Body, OCD (on Sept.15, 2013)

Mary Julia Seelaus was born August 5, 1923, the second of eight children, in Philadelphia, PA. She attended Holy Child grade school, and Little Flower High School of Fine Arts.  When she graduated, Mary Julia–a talented artist–was hired to do women’s fashion art displays, but a flame that was the love of God burned in her heart, and she soon formed a group of Young Christian Workers, similar to the movement in France at the time.  One day, as she was riding home on the subway from her Christian Worker meeting, she heard a definite call to Carmel in her heart.

So, Mary Julia became a Discalced Carmelite nun, and her name became Sr. Miriam of the Mystical Body, OCD.  She said that “The discovery of the doctrine of the Mystical Body was a great grace for me.  Our loving God and Father has created each of us to be another humanity for Jesus.”  One of her favorite Scripture passages was “I am the vine, and you are the branches.  Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.”

Sr. Miriam’s New Testament and photo of the Shroud of Turin

Anyone who had the great privilege of knowing this tiny, cloistered nun, knew of her great love and devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus, which she shared with everyone.  Sr. Miriam was that part of the Mystical Body who adored and loved the Face of Jesus, to make up for those souls who are indifferent to God, or even hate God. In her little New Testament, now yellowed and falling apart, St. Paul’s words to the Ephesians are doubly underlined, “God’s plan…is to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head.” (Eph. 1:10)  A small picture of the Shroud of Turin (glued to a piece of cardboard, with a hanger  carefully cut from duct tape) which belonged to Sr. Miriam, is worn through the surface of the photo, from the top of Jesus’s forehead to His chin, by a thousand kisses bestowed on His Holy Face as evidence of her faithful love and the desire to make reparation for those who did not love Him.

Her eyes sparkled when she spoke of Jesus, and one had the distinct impression that He was always at her side, because Sr. Miriam had the habit of addressing her Beloved out loud. If you asked her for prayers for someone, she would immediately implore Him, in her sweet voice, “O Jesus!  Help them!”

Painting of Jesus by Sr. Miriam

Before Sr. Miriam died, at the Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Covington, Louisiana, she suffered, as some holy souls do, a great darkness.  She felt that she was unworthy to even receive Holy Communion; she grew smaller and smaller, like a candle about to go out.  The darkness passed and on June 27, 2017, her entrance into eternal life was a peaceful one. The funeral procession to her place of rest at St. Joseph’s Abbey was halted momentarily when a peacock, a symbol of the Resurrection, suddenly flew out of the woods to the middle of the road, next to the hearse which carried her precious body.  The Face of Christ shone so brightly in Sr. Miriam’s soul, which remained always close to the Vine, that it cannot help but continue to bear good fruit.  Sr. Miriam, pray for us!

 

 

Trinity, whom I adore

Holy Trinity – Andrei Rublev

O My God, Trinity Whom I Adore

St. Elizabeth of The Trinity, Discalced Carmelite nun

O My God, Trinity whom I adore,  help me to forget myself entirely that I may be established in You as still and as peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity.  May nothing trouble my peace or make me leave You, O my unchanging One, but may each minute carry me further into the depths of Your Mystery. Give peace to my soul, make it Your heaven, Your beloved dwelling and Your resting place.  May I never leave you there alone but be wholly present, my faith wholly vigilant, wholly adoring, and wholly surrendered to Your creative action.  O my beloved Christ, crucified by love, I wish to be a bride for Your Heart; I wish to cover You with glory; I wish to love You…even unto death!  But I feel my weakness, and I ask You to clothe me with Yourself, to identify my soul with all the movements of Your Soul, to overwhelm me, to posses me, to substitute Yourself for me that my life may be but a radiance of Your life.  Come to me as Adorer, as Restorer, as Savior, O Word Eternal, Word of my God.  I want to spend my life listening to You, to become wholly teachable that I may learn all from You.  Then, through all nights, all voids, all helplessness, I want to gaze on You always and remain in Your great light.  O my beloved Star, so fascinate me that that I may not withdraw from your radiance.  O consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, come upon me, and create in my soul a kind of Incarnation of the Word; that I may be another humanity for Him, in which He can renew His whole Mystery.  And You, O Father, bend lovingly over your poor little creature; cover her with your shadow, seeing in her only the Beloved in whom You are well pleased.  O my Three, my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in which I love myself, I surrender myself to You as Your prey.  Bury Yourself in me that I may bury myself in You until I depart to contemplate in Your light the abyss of Your greatness.  November 21, 1904 — St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

Another Discalced Carmelite nun who lived in the mid-1800’s, Sr. Marie St. Pierre, is best known for Devotion to the Holy Face and “The Golden Arrow”  a prayer of reparation for blasphemy–sins against the Face of God. She had many interior visions regarding the Holy Face and the work of reparation, including a sublime conception of the The Holy Trinity and the Holy Face which she tried to express in these words she received from Our Lord:

Discalced Carmelite Nun Sr. Marie St. Pierre, holding “Golden Arrow” with three circles representing the Trinity.

“Remember, O my soul, the instruction which thy celestial Spouse has given thee today on His adorable Face!  Remember that this Divine Head represents the Father who is from all eternity, that the mouth of this Holy Face is a figure of the Divine Word, engendered by the Father, and that the eyes of this mysterious Face represent the reciprocal love of the Father and the Son; for these eyes have but one and the same light, the same knowledge, producing the same love, which is the Holy Spirit.  In his beautiful silken hair  contemplate the infinitude of the adorable perfections of the Most Holy Trinity in this majestic head, the most precious portion of the Sacred Humanity of thy Saviour; contemplate the image of the unity of God.  This, then, is the adorable and mysterious Face of the Saviour, which blasphemers have the temerity to cover with opprobrium: thus they renew the sufferings of His Passion, by attacking the Divinity of which it is the image.”

Our Lord told Sr. Marie St. Pierre that she could comfort and console Him by her praises, then He added:

“According to the diligence you will manifest in repairing my image disfigured by blasphemers, so will I have the same care in repairing your soul which has been disfigured by sin.  I will imprint thereon my image, and I will render it as beautiful as when it came forth from the baptismal font… Oh! could you but behold the beauty of My Face!–But your eyes are yet too weak.” 

THE GOLDEN ARROW  PRAYER

MAY the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and ineffable Name of God, be forever praised, blessed, adored, loved and glorified, in heaven, on earth, and in the hells, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Amen.  (In Reparation for blasphemy)

The Holy Face on the Shroud of Turin

 

“Jesus, has shown us the face of God, One in substance and Triune in Persons; God is all and only Love, in a subsisting relationship that creates, redeems, and sanctifies all: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” ~Pope Francis

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

Feb. 13, Day 6 – Holy Face Novena

Alpha-Omega Holy Face of Jesus Novena Prayers and Consecration

Daily Preparatory Prayer

"Il Volto Santo" Holy Face of Manoppello, Italy
“Il Volto Santo” Holy Face of Manoppello, Italy

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
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 *

"Who is like God?" -- St. Michael the Archangel
“Who is like God?” —
St. Michael the Archangel

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, 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.  Recently, Old St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in New Orleans has commissioned an exceptional statue of St. Michael bearing a shield with the Face of Jesus “Il Volto Santo” of Manoppello.

Volto Santo of sculptor Cody Swanson
(full statue not shown) Shield bearing Volto Santo by sculptor Cody Swanson, study for St. Michael Statue.
Sculptor Cody Swanson
Sculptor Cody Swanson

Cody Swanson, is the artist of the awe-inspiring sculpture. Thanks to Mr. Paul Badde I’ve been fortunate enough to see photos of the  color-study of the work.  I have never seen a more powerful expression of St. Michael’s key question, “Who is like God?” Mr. Swanson, is an American Catholic convert and father of five, who has been described as “a young Michaelangelo.” Hmmm… Is that The Holy Spirit over his shoulder, or just a reflection on the glass? Either way, he certainly has been inspired!]