Our Lord appeared to a cloistered sister of the Carmelite community of Tours, Sister Marie of St. Peter, on August 26th, 1843. This convent was specifically chosen by God to spread devotion to the Holy Face due to the fact that the Reverend Mother had made a special vow promising God that for a whole year two of the religious in her community would offer their Communions for the special intention that the designs of the Sacred Heart should be accomplished. Through Sr. Mary of St Peter, the world would one day come to know that the designs of the Sacred Heart were to be accomplished through "The Work of Reparation."
It was during a terrible storm on that August 26th that Sr. Marie of St. Peter was praying offering Our Lord Jesus Christ to the Heavenly Father in expiation for her sins and the needs of the Church and felt the anger of God through this storm. She asked God if she was imagining this feeling. Our Lord replied in this way, " My Name is everywhere blasphemed! There are even children who blaspheme!" Sr. Marie of St Peter writes in her autobiography "The Golden Arrow": Our Lord 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, and 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, nothwithstanding my unworthiness, for the reparation of blasphemy against His Holy Name.
May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and unutterable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored 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.
What is particularily noteworthy is the phrase "in the hells" as Sr. Marie of St. Peter was "astonished" at this terminology but Our Lord explained to her that Divine Justice was also glorified there where not only the reprobates reside but the souls of the just who are being purified. Thus, this devotion is a reminder to all Catholics that there is truly is a place called hell and a place called purgatory. On Feb 2, 1844 Our Lord spoke to Sr. Marie of St. Peter to mention that this "Work of Reparation" was also to include reparation for the profanation of Sundays. On January 5, 1846, Sr. Marie of St. Peter writes, "…this Work included not only reparation for what is generally called blasphemy, … but that it also embraced reparation for all of the attacks against Religion and Holy Church, since these also constitute a form of blasphemy." So perhaps this "Work of Reparation" then could be considered an act of reparation against heretical attacks against the Church which are so numerous and vicious in these times.
Our Lord said, as well, that only Reparation could disarm the Justice of God because the guilt of men had provoked His anger.
On October 4, 1846, Our Lord foretold to Sr. Marie what chastisements of God’s Justice would be felt because of the profanation of Sunday. There had been a terrible flood caused by the overflowing of the River Loire that had been unprecedented for many centuries. Sr. Marie was told that God "wielded the elements" because of the profanation of Sunday. On this day, Sr. Marie was given to know that in the future (perhaps because He was largely ignored) "God’s Justice would use as the instrument of punishment, not the elements, but the ‘malice of revolutionary men- that is the Communists.’ " (This was the first revelation from heaven concerning Communism. Our Lord said that this devotion would defeat it. It is, therefore, the sister-devotion to the Fatima devotion--necessary to save the world. It is interesting to note that Communism was at its very beginning stages as Karl Marx, the father of Communism, had not even published his "Communist Manifesto" until 1848.) Our Lord then ordered Sr. Marie to wage war against the enemies of the Church, the Communists, through her prayers and the instruments of His Passion which would be her only weapons against them and the devil himself.
Our Lord also requested that an Archconfraternity be established. Several attempts were made unsuccessfully, but there was one man whose work for the Holy Face was crowned with success. His name was M. Leo Dupont. Leo DuPont was a fervent Catholic and benefactor of the Carmelite Convent of Tours. Sr. Marie asked Leo DuPont for assistance in spreading the devotion to the Holy Face by the printing a small work on the Holy Face . The Carmelite Prioress also gave him a copy of the Holy Face of Veronica’s Veil which had been touched to the original in Rome on the very evening of a Miraculous occurrence that involved the Veil. ("The miracle of the Vatican" happened in 1849 at a time when Pope Pius lX had fled to Gaeta before the Revolution. To appease the anger of Heaven and to obtain an end to the evils devastating the Church, he permitted the Holy Face Effigy and a Relic of the True Cross to be publicly venerated in Rome from the Feast of Christmas to the Epiphany. It was during this time that the Holy Face, though covered with a silk veil, could be seen to become lifelike, change color and expression. This event lasted for three hours in front of a great crowd.) Upon receiving such a gift and great honor, Leo DuPont placed it on a prominent wall in his drawing room with a lantern of oil that he burned day and night in the spirit of reparation. People who visited him were drawn to this "shrine" in his home and asked about it. He was very happy to use this way as a means to teach people about the devotion to the Holy Face and "the Work of Reparation." Many conversions and cures were obtained from prayers said before this little shrine and the application of the oil from the lamp that constantly burned before the Holy Face.. For thirty years, Leo DuPont carried on his mission in hopes that this devotion would eventually be officially approved by the Church. Shortly before his death his hope was realized. He died in the odor of sanctity. His home became a public oratory and a place of pilgrimage. It remains so even to this day. On October 1, 1885, Pope LeoXIII established the Archconfraternity in this public oratory as Our Lord had demanded. "The most beautiful work under the sun" had officially begun! It is interesting to note that Our Lord asked that every Confraternity member should wear a special cross called , "The Holy Face Protection Cross" The Cross bears the words on the front, "Sit Nomen Domini Benedictum" (Blessed Be the Name of God). On the reverse side of the Cross, "Vade Retro, Satana" (Begone, Satan) The Crossbeam shows the Sacred Heart on the right and the Immaculate Heart on the left and in the center is the reproduction of Veronica’s Veil, reminding wearers to run to Jesus and Mary in time of temptation. This emblem of the Immaculate Heart present in this cross is yet another sign of this devotion being a sister devotion to Fatima. Unfortunately, this devotion was neglected and forgotten by the beginning of World War I (World War I being a just chastisement for this negligence). For an in depth study of this devotion read the books by Dorothy Scallan, "The Holy Man of Tours" and "The Whole World Will Love Me". Also the book called "The Golden Arrow" is the autobiography of Sr. Marie of St. Peter. Also, John Vennari of Catholic Family News has an excellent talk on the Holy Face which is on audiotape. In our next issue, we will discover how Our Lord once again came in the 20th Century to revive this devotion to His Holy Face but this time using a Conceptionist sister and the Holy Face on the Shroud of Turin.