As we remember St Thérèse, we should also remember her other dedication: ‘and of the Holy Face’. It was another Carmelite, St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, who said of monastic dedication under a particular mystery that God binds Himself to the soul under that mystery. So it was with Thérèse. Her dedication to the Holy Face was lived out in her very ordinary life, which yet was extraordinary.
Before her entry into the Carmel, Thérèse was already a member of the Confraternity of the Holy Face, and in the Carmel of Lisieux there was an image of the Veil of Veronica in the chapel. Thérèse wrote to her sister, Pauline (Sister Agnes of Jesus): ‘Until my coming to Carmel I never fathomed the depths of the treasure hidden in the Holy Face. It was through you, dear Mother, that I learned to know these treasures’. It was from the time of her Clothing that she was known as Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face.
She came to know at first hand the pains of the Suffering Servant, first of all in the humiliations of her dearly loved father in his illness. Later, she would make the Passion of the Lord her own. Yet her writings express so much joy.
May she be with us in all that we undergo, and pray for us, and may the Holy Face of Jesus inspire us and bless us with His Love.