HOLY FACE HISTORY AND TIMELINE
~33 AD: Veronica wipes Our Lord’s face with her veil and an image of His Holy Face miraculously appears on the veil. Veronica later passes the relic of the veil to Clement I (3rd successor of St. Peter). The relic of the veil was kept in catacombs for the next 3 centuries during persecutions of the Church. After that time, Holy Veil was placed in the church that was constructed over the tomb of St. Peter (later to become the Basilica of St. Peter). The Holy Veil has since been kept intact throughout the centuries.
1843-1847: Sister Mary of St. Peter, a Carmelite nun in Tours France experiences a series of revelations from Our Lord about a powerful devotion He wished to be established worldwide – the devotion to His Holy Face. The express purpose of this devotion was to make reparation for the numerous blasphemies and profanities taking place in the world but was also established as a means through which we can all appeal to God for anything we wish.
The devotion revealed by Our Lord to Sister Mary of St. Peter consists primarily of reciting the “Golden Arrow Prayer” and the “Litany of the Holy Face” (as seen on our Devotion page). It also consists of some additional prayers said with a chaplet (or small rosary) and wearing of a Holy Face Cross engraved with the words “Blessed be the Name of God” on the front and “Begone, Satan!” on the back.
1849: Shortly after the death of Sister Mary of St. Peter, Pope Pius IX ordered public prayers be offered in all churches in Rome to implore God’s mercy on the Papal States due to revolution occurring at the time. As part of these public prayers, a three-day exposition of the relic of Veronica’s veil was held for public veneration at St. Peter’s Basilica. On the third day of the showing, a miracle occurred through which Our Lord’s face on the veil became very distinct and glowed with a soft light. The Canons of the Basilica ordered the bells rung at sight of the miracle, which attracted crowds of people. The miracle lasted for three hours, and was attested to by an apostolic notary during the incident.
That same evening etchings and representations of the effigy were made and touched to the relic of Veronica’s veil and later sent abroad. Afterward, a custom was introduced where copies of the veil were sent to Rome to be touched to the original veil, making them objects of special devotion. These copies are typically noted to have stamps and/or wax authenticating seals in the lower corner, indicating it was touched to the original veil. Here are links to high resolution framed and unframed photos of one of these 3rd class relics. There are more copies of these images on our Holy Face Images page as well. Feel free to have any of these images printed to assist you with practicing the Holy Face devotion.
1849-1876: Two of the relics were sent to Leo Dupont who continued the Holy Face devotion privately throughout the rest of his life until 1876. Leo Dupont hung one of these images in his parlor and kept a crystal oil lamp in front of it, lit continuously as a sign of veneration. Soon afterward first class miracles of healings started to occur to those who said the devotional prayers (“Golden Arrow Prayer”, the “Litany of the Holy Face”) with Leo Dupont in front of his Holy Face image, and who anointed themselves with the oil from his lamp. These miracles continued for 30 years and were so numerous that Pope Pius IX declared Leo Dupont to be perhaps one of the greatest miracle workers in Church history!
The fact that so many first class miracles occurred through this devotion attests to the authenticity of the revelations from Our Lord to Sister Mary of St. Peter.
1885: While devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus has always existed in some form or another, these revelations and miraculous occurrences lead to this special devotion being established by Pope Leo XIII as an Archconfraternity; and contrary to custom, He immediately established it for the ENTIRE WORLD.
1885-1897: It was a well-known fact the St. Therese of Lisieux and her family registered as members of the Archconfraternity of Reparation to the Holy Face at Tours France and that St. Therese herself was so devoted to this that she added the title to her name at the time she took the habit. This is why you will often see St. Therese referred to as St. Therese of the Child Jesus “and of the Holy Face”. See our St. Therese page for more details.
2000 and beyond: Become a part of this timeline yourself by practicing this devotion as explained on this site and by spreading the devotion to others!
To read details about Sister Mary of St. Peter’s revelations and the miracles associated with Leo Dupont, please read the “The Holy Man of Tours” (the life of Leo Dupont), and “The Golden Arrow” (the autobiography of Sister Mary of St. Peter), both available from fromwww.tanbooks.com.