History of the Holy Face Devotion
Let God arise and his enemies be
And let all that hate him flee before his Face.
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 the
catacombs for the next three centuries during the persecutions of
the Church. After that time, the Holy Veil was placed in the church
that was constructed over the tomb of St. Peter (later to become St.
Peter's Basilica). The Holy Veil has since been kept in the Vatican
intact for over 2000 years.
1617: An exact copy of the original
Veronica's veil was made during the reign of Pope Paul V
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
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.
1848: Sister Mary of St. Peter passes away
in the odor of sanctity on July 8. Just before her death she was
able to relay the details of her five years of revelations to the
local bishop in Tours. She was also able to share the information
with a friend named Leo Dupont, a retired lawyer in Tours.
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 in the
face of a 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, January 6, 1849, 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 the
sight of the miracle, which attracted crowds of people. The miracle
lasted for three hours, was attested to by an apostolic notary
during the incident, and was documented in the daybook of the
That same evening, detailed copies of the
effigy were made, and were touched to the relic of Veronica's veil,
to a relic of the true cross, and to the lance which pierced
Christ's side, and were later sent abroad. In years to come, a
custom was followed in the Vatican where further copies of the image
on Veronica's veil were created in the Vatican each year in the same
manner, and sent abroad as relics of special devotion.
1851-1876: Leo Dupont (friend of Sister Mary
of St. Peter mentioned above) obtained one of the Holy Face relics
created in the Vatican, and placed it on the mantle in his parlor,
keeping a crystal oil lamp burning continuously in front of it as a
sign of veneration. He began privately praying the Holy Face prayers
(obtained from Sister Mary of St. Peter) with friends and
acquaintances in front of the image. Soon afterward, miraculous
healings began to occur with the friends and acquaintances who said
the devotional prayers (the "Golden Arrow Prayer" and "Litany of the
Holy Face"), and who anointed themselves with the oil from the lamp
in front of the image. Due to the repeated miracles that happened
from that point forward, Leo DuPont's parlor soon became a place of
pilgrimage, and word quickly passed throughout France. These
miracles continued for 30 years, even past the death of Leo Dupont,
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.
1877: After the death of Leo Dupont, his
home became the Oratory of the Holy Face.
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. This
was confirmed in the papal briefs of December 16, 1884, April 22,
1885, and October 1, 1885, and in the indulgences granted by Pope
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".
1910: On April 27, 1910, Pope Saint Pius X
approves the Feast of the Image of the Holy Face, with the rank of
Greater Double, for the Third Feria, after the Sunday of
Quinquagesima (Shrove Tuesday) for the diocese of Cambrai, France.
Today: Unfortunately, the Holy Face devotion
was slowly forgotten around World War I. In the revelations to
Sister Mary of St. Peter, Our Lord was very specific in stating the
extreme importance of this devotion for making reparation to God,
for holding back the justice of God during the evils of our day, and
for obtaining the resolution to all of the problems in our families.
We hope that you will become a part of this timeline yourself, by
practicing this devotion as explained on this site, and by spreading
the devotion to others.