In the late 1840s the cherubic-faced Pope Pius IX fled the Vatican and went into exile in Naples where he took refuge in the sprawling Castle Gaeta. He had left Rome in a mad hurry and could not gather many treasures which he feared would fall into the hands of his enemies, chiefly the grasping Italian nationalists who he had learnt from bitter experience did not want a Vicar of Christ to upset plans for their newly founded republic. Among the sacred possessions which remained in Rome was the Veil of Veronica. In Pius's absence, the Vatican still followed hallowed traditions and Veronica's Veil was exposed for veneration from Christmas to Epiphany in the Vatican.

The centuries had taken their toll on the precious cloth and the stretched silk looked worn, but on the third day of the exposition, the Veil was transfigured when the Divine facial features of Jesus became evident, and were seen to be lifelike, as though a Human Person peered from the cloth, and the Head was crowned by a halo of light. But the Face was that of One crucified and was deathly pale. The eyes were seen to have a look of extreme sorrow.

The priests minding the Veil were astonished, and called for the bells to to be rung as a signal to the faithful to come. Throngs of faithful descended on the Vatican and were awestruck as they beheld the Veil transfigured and saw the Face of the Savior look at them.

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Our Lord deigned that the 1840s were the years when He manifested His Holy Face. He gave revelations to Sr Mary of St Peter which include that those of us who honor His Face will have His sacred features imbued on our souls, and in the cold of winter 1849 He let His Face shine forth from Veronica's Veil for the good people of Rome to venerate.

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IN this year of 2020, at this time of writing, the Feast of the Epiphany seems already so far away as all the trappings of Christmas have been stripped from our homes (our tree, wreath and decorations have all come down) but we are still in the Octave of the Epiphany which ends on January 13th.


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