“I desire that my Face, which reflects the intimate afflictions of my Soul,
the sorrow and the love of my Heart, should be honoured more.
One who contemplates me, consoles me.
There are those perhaps who fear that the devotion and worship of my Holy Face
may diminish the devotion and worship of my Heart. Tell them that, on the contrary, it will be completed and augmented. Contemplating my Face, souls will share in my sorrows and will feel the need to love and and to make reparation. Is this not perhaps the true devotion to my Heart? “
Nennolina was not alone in having her heroic virtues recognized by the Church this morning. There were seven others; among them was Mother Maria Pierina Di Micheli. Born on 11 September, 1890, Giuseppina De Micheli entered the Congregation of the Daughters of the Immaculate Conception in Milan on 15 October 1913. She received the habit and the name Maria Pierina on 16 May 1914, made religious profession 23 May 1915, and left for the motherhouse of the Congregation in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1921. She returned to Italy in 1921, and died on 26 July 1945.
Mother Maria Pierina was privileged, from the age of twelve, with graces of intimacy with Our Lord, who invited her to contemplate His Holy Face. On the evening of 31 May 1938, as Mother Maria Pierina was praying, a beautiful Lady presented herself to her on the altar steps, in a blaze of light. She was holding in her hand a scapular made of two pieces of white flannel held together by a cord. One piece bore the image of the Holy Face of Jesus with the inscription, “Illumina Domine Vultum Tuum super nos”; the other piece bore the image of a radiant Host with the inscription, “Mane nobiscum Domine.”
The Lady approached Mother Pierina and said, “Listen well and refer this to your Father Confessor. This scapular is an arm of defense, a shield of might, a token of mercy that Jesus wants to give the world in these times of sensuality and of hatred toward God and the Church. True apostles are few. A divine remedy is necessary, and this remedy is the Holy Face of Jesus. All those who will wear a scapular like this one, and who will visit, if possible, the Blessed Sacrament on Tuesdays to make reparation for the outrages that the Holy Face of my Son Jesus received during His Passion, and receives every day in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, will be strengthened in the faith, made ready to defend it, and to overcome all difficulties inward and outward. They will, moreover, have a serene death, beneath the loving gaze of my Divine Son.”
The scapular of the Holy Face became, with the approval of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the medal of the Holy Face, widely distributed by Mother Maria Pierina, by her spiritual father, Abbot Ildebrando Gregori, O.S.B., and today, by His Eminence Fiorenzo Cardinal Angelini and the Congregation of the Benedictine Reparatrices of the Holy Face.
I was privileged, last month, to preach a retreat — Seeking God: the Holy Face of Jesus in the Rule of Saint Benedict — to a dynamic group of novices and professed Sisters of the Benedictine Reparatrices of the Holy Face from Italy, India, the Republic of the Congo, and Romania at the Casa San Francesco in Carsoli, Aquila, Italy.