The Carmelite Auxiliary is dedicated to supporting and spreading the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus. In union with the Carmelites of Georgetown who also promulgate this devotion, the Auxiliary works diligently to assist the Monastery in making Holy Face Chaplets out of brown nylon chord. Once the chaplets are constructed, Holy Face Devotional kits are assembled. The kit contains instructions on how to pray this devotion as well as historical information and prayers. The kits are available from the Auxiliary at their events. Donations for the kits are accepted.
What are Holy Face Chaplets?
The chaplet has for its object the honoring of the five senses of our Lord Jesus Christ and of entreating God for the triumph of His Church. The Holy Face Chaplet is composed of a cross and thirty-nine beads (or knots); of these six are single beads and thirty-three grouped beads; to this chaplet is attached a medal of the Holy Face. The thirty-three grouped beads represent the thirty-three years of the mortal life of our Divine Lord. The first thirty recall to mind the thirty years of His private life, and are divided into five groups of six with the intention of honoring the five senses, TOUCH, HEARING, SIGHT, SMELL, and TASTE of Jesus, which have their seat principally in His Holy Face, rendering homage to all the sufferings our Lord endured in His Face through each one of these senses. A single bead to honor each of the senses precedes each of these five groups of six beads. The last group of three beads recall the public life of the Savior and honor the wounds of His adorable Face.
How do you pray the Chaplet?
For specific details on how to pray the chaplet, please visit the Carmel of Sacramento's website at: http://www.carmelitemonastery.org/holy-face-chaplet.php
Where does the devotion come from?
The Holy Face Chaplet, and devotion to the Holy Face has it's origin from the writings of a Carmelite Nun in Tours, France in the 19th century. During the 1840’s Our Lord appeared to Sister Marie de Saint Pierre, a Carmelite Nun in Tours, France, and spoke to her about spreading throughout the world the devotion to His Most Holy Face. According to Sr. Marie de St. Pierre, Our Lord was greatly sorrowed by blasphemy, and also by the profanation of Sunday by our work and failure to go to Mass and general disregard for God’s will of keeping the day holy. Below is Sister Marie’s explanation of what Our Lord requested of her, taken from her autobiography, “The Golden Arrow.”
“Our Lord then made me visualize the act of blasphemy as a poisoned arrow continually wounding His divine heart. After that He revealed to me that He wanted to give me a ‘Golden Arrow’ which would have the power of wounding Him delightfully, which would also heal those other wounds inflicted by the malice of sinners. The following is the formula of the ‘Golden Arrow’ which is an Act of Praise that Our Lord Himself dictated to me, notwithstanding my unworthiness, for the reparation of blasphemy against His Holy Name.”
A direct outgrowth of this devotion was the creation of the widespread Holy Name Society. Sr. Marie de St. Pierre goes on to say, “Our Lord showed me this association as an army of brave soldiers, uniting themselves to Him as to their Commander-in-Chief, to defend the Glory of the Father. It is His Will that this militia be called, ‘The Defenders of the Holy Name of God,’ so that this noble title should give evidence of the high calling of those enrolled.” The Holy Name Society was popular throughout the world until the end of the 20th century, when other devotions and organizations gained in popularity.
Necessity of making Reparation
Devotion to the Holy Face and the Name of Jesus is more needed in the world today than at any earlier time. The prayers and meditations related to this devotion will lead one into greater awareness of Jesus’ great sacrifice on our behalf, and into a more respectful relationship with Him. While you say the chaplet, you are invited to meditate on the five senses we all have, those senses that were so assaulted while Jesus endured His Passion and Death. The image of Our Lord is based on the Image transferred to the Veil of Veronica when she wiped His Holy Face.
The Carmelite Connection
The news of the revelations made to Sister Marie of St. Peter had come to the Carmel of Lisieux through one of its foundresses, Mother Genevieve of St. Teresa who corresponded with the Carmel of Tours. In 1847, Mother Genevieve obtained permission to hang a copy of the Veil of Veronica in the chapel at the Carmel, and it was she who introduced the devotion to the community. Thus, Pauline was well grounded in the devotion to the Holy Face by the time of Thérèse’s entry in 1888, and she hastened to deepen her younger sister’s understanding of the treasures hidden therein. Therese specifically credits her with doing so, and she requested that the title “of the Holy Face” be added to the name given her as a postulant, “Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus.”
If you go into the chapel at the Carmelite Monastery in Georgetown, you will see that it is dedicated to the Holy Family and to St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. You will see statues to the right and left of the sanctuary of both the Holy Family and of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. Also, be sure to notice the reproduction of the Image of the Holy Face taken from the Veil of Veronica, in its place of honor to the left of the altar, near the red vigil light. This image was actually touched to the real Veil, which is in the Vatican.