Veneration of the Holy Face of Jesus has its beginning during the very passion of Our Lord, making it one of the oldest devotions in the Christian tradition. This devotion originated with the sacred image of Our Lord that miraculously appeared on St. Veronica’s Veil. Below is a short account of how this devotion has spread from ancient times to today.
TIMELINE OF THE HOLY FACE OF JESUS DEVOTION
33 AD: St. Veronica, as a sign of her love and compassion, offered Our Savior a veil to wipe the blood and sweat from his face as he carried his cross. In reward for her charity and compassion, Jesus left an impression of his Holy Face upon the veil. This meeting of Our Lord and St. Veronica is forever memorialized in the Stations of the Cross. The meeting of Jesus and St. Veronica along his walk to the place of his crucifixion is the 6th Station.
1st – 4th c. AD: According to tradition, St. Veronica later entrusted the veil to St. Clement, a disciple of St. Peter who became the third Bishop of Rome. For the next three centuries the Holy Veil was kept in the Roman catacombs during the early persecutions of the Church. Eventually the Veronica’s Veil was placed in the Basilica of St. Peter and kept there until the present day.
1843: Our Lord, in visions to Sister Marie of St. Peter, requested that a devotion to His Holy Face be established, also known as the “Golden Arrow.” The purpose of this devotion was to make amends for the wrongdoings in the world, as well as to request special intentions. Special prayers and promises were given to Sister Marie from Our Lord, who said:
“All who honor My Holy Face in a spirit of reparation thereby perform for Me the services of the pious Veronica.”
1849: Soon after the death of Sister Marie, a revolution erupted in the Papal States. Pope Pius IX ordered public prayers to be offered in Rome to implore God’s mercy, and Veronica’s Veil was put on display for public veneration for three days. On the third day the sacred features of Our Lord, normally faded, became distinctly seen and surrounded by a soft halo of light. This lasted for three hours and was documented by Vatican officials.