Devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus
Saint Therese was introduced to the devotion by Sister Agnes of Jesus. She studied it in a personal way, using the texts of Isaiah (see below). She did this principally at the time of her father’s illness. She signed her name for the first time as “Sister Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face” the day she received the habit on January 10, 1889. Before her death on September 30, 1897, after she was taken to her infirmary bed, she “pinned her favorite holy pictures on the brown curtains surrounding her bed…The Holy Face of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin, her `dear’ Theophane Venard…”
Quotes from St. Therese on the Holy Face
“The little flower transplanted to Mount Carmel was to expand under the shadow of the Cross. The tears and blood of Jesus were to be her dew, and her Sun was His adorable Face veiled with tears. Until my coming to Carmel, I had never fathomed the depths of the treasures hidden in the Holy Face. It was through you [Agnes] dear mother, that I learned to know these treasures. Just as formerly you had preceded us to Carmel so also you were the first to enter deeply into the mysteries of love hidden in the Face of our Spouse. You called me and I understood. I understood what real glory was. He whose kingdom is not of this world (John 13:36) showed me that true wisdom consists in `desiring to be unknown and counted as nothing’ (Imitation of Christ, 1, 2-3) in placing oneself one’s joys in the contempt of self.’ (Ibid, 49:7) Ah! I desired that, like the face of Jesus, my face be truly hidden, that no one on earth would know me (Isaiah 53:3). I thirsted after suffering and I longed to be forgotten.” —The Last Conversations.
These words of Isaiah, ” Who has believed our report?…There is no beauty in Him, no comliness…” have been the whole foundation of my devotion to the Holy Face, or, to express it better, the foundation of my whole piety. I also have desired to be without beauty, to tread the winepress alone, unknown to every creature.” – The Last Conversations