Feast of Saint Veronica

Monday, July 12, 2021 - 19:00

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Veronica, patron saint of laundry workers and photographers.

Saint Veronica was a woman from Jerusalem who lived in the 1st century AD, and according to Christian sacred tradition she was moved with sympathy seeing Jesus carrying the cross to Calvary and gave him her veil so that he could wipe his forehead. Jesus accepted the offer, and when he returned the veil the image of his face was miraculously captured on it. The resulting relic became known as the Veil of Veronica.

The story of Veronica is celebrated in the sixth Station of the Cross. Let us pray...

Sixth Station of the Cross

From the second letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians 4:6: 

God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Veronica was one of the women who had followed Jesus, who understood who he was, who loved him; she suffers to see him suffer. Now, standing nearby, she sees his face, that countenance which had so often touched her soul. She sees it distraught, marred and covered with blood, yet ever meek and humble. He cannot long endure. She wants to relieve his suffering. She takes a cloth and tries to wipe the blood and sweat from that face.

In our lives we have had occasion at times to wipe the tears and sweat of those who suffer. Perhaps we have assisted a terminal patient in the wards of a hospital, or helped an immigrant or someone looking for work, or listened to someone in prison. And in trying to ease their suffering, we may have wiped their face simply by looking upon them with compassion.

And yet, all too seldom do we remember
that in each of our brothers and sisters in need
you, the Son of God, are hidden.
How different would our lives be
if we would but remember this!
Little by little we would become aware of the dignity
of every man, woman and child living on the earth.
Each person, beautiful or not, gifted or not,
whether newly conceived in a mother’s womb
or advanced in age, represents you, Jesus.
And not only. Each of our brothers and sisters is you.
Looking upon you, utterly abased on Calvary,
we will understand with Veronica
that in every human being we can recognise your face.

With thanks to the Vatican website

Image from Wikipedia (Statue of Veronica by Francesco Mochi in a niche of the pier supporting the main dome of St. Peter's Basilica).