Ta Face est ma seule patrie

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If you haven’t read Donald Jacob Uitvlugt’s article, The Holy Face in the Spirituality of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, today is the perfect day to do so. On August 6, 1896, Saint Thérèse consecrated herself, and the novices under her care, to the Face of Christ. In her testimony for the cause of beatification, the older sister of Thérèse, Pauline (in Carmel, Mother Agnes), said:

Devotion to the Holy Face was the special attraction of the Servant of God. However tender was her devotion to the Infant Jesus, it could not be compared to the devotion she had for the Holy Face. It was in the Carmel, at the hour of our great ordeal regarding the mental illness of our father, that she attached herself further to the mystery of the Passion, and it was then that she obtained permission to add “of the Holy Face” to her name.

Thérèse herself speaks of where she derived the idea of this devotion. She writes, “In these words of Isaiah — “He was without splendor, without beauty, his face was hidden, as it were, and his person was not acknowledged (cf. Is 53, 2-3) — one finds the whole foundation of my devotion to the Holy Face, or to say it better, the foundation of all my piety. I also desire myself to be without splendor, without beauty, to tread alone the wine in the press, unknown by every creature.”

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