Saint Veronica

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Saint Veronica with the Holy Kerchief - by MASTER of Saint Veronica, - from Alte Pinakothek, Munich

 

 Saint Veronica

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crucifixion3.jpg (1600 bytes)In several regions of Christendom, there is honored under the name "Veronica", a pious matron of Jerusalem who, during the Passion of Jesus Christ, as one of the holy women who accompanied Him to Calvary, and offered Him a linen towel on which He left the imprint of His Face. This event is commemorated in the Sixth Station of the Cross. Some say she later went to Rome, bringing with her this Miraculous Image of Christ, which was long exposed to public veneration. To Veronica were also traced other relics of the Blessed Virgin venerated in several churches of the West. This linen image was called the Vera Icon (true image) which soon became known as Veronica. By degrees, popular imagination mistook this word for the name of the person. Several legends exist which vary according to country:

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) In Italy, Veronica is said to have come to Rome at the summons of Emperor Tiberius, whom she cured by making him touch the Sacred Image of Christ. She then remained in the capitol of the Roman Empire, living there at the same time as Saints Peter and Paul; and at her death bequeathed the precious image to Pope Clement and his successors.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) In France, Veronica is said to be married to Zacheus, a convert of the Gospel, accompanies him to Rome, and then to Quiercy, where her husband becomes a hermit, under the name of Amadour, in the region now called Rocamahour. Meanwhile Veronica joins Martial, whom she assisted in his Apostolic Preaching.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) In the region of Bordeaux, shortly after the Ascension of Christ, Veronica is said to have landed at Soulac at the mouth of the Gironde, bringing relics of the Blessed Virgin. There she preaches, dies and is buried in the tomb which was long venerated either at Soulac or in the Church of Saint Seurin at Bordeaux. Sometimes she has even been confounded with a pious woman who, according to Gregory of Tours, brought to the neighboring town of Bazas, some drops of the blood of John the Baptist, at whose beheading she was present.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) And lastly, in many places she is identified with the Haemorrhissa (the woman with the issue of bleeding whom Jesus cured).

 

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crucifixion3.jpg (1600 bytes) These Pious Traditions can not be documented, but there is no reason why the belief that such an Act of Compassion did occur should not find expression in the veneration paid to one called Veronica. Did she ever exist at all? The saintly woman who took pity on Jesus as He passed by? The compassionate woman who wiped His Brow with her own linen scarf and was Miraculously Rewarded by the imprint of Jesus' Face, the image not made by human hands? Many stories are written around her, but did she ever really exist, this Saint of the True Icon, the Vera Icona?

Does she not still exist today whenever a mother takes pity on another mother's child? Does she not still exist today in each one of us whenever we do some small gesture to help someone else in their suffering, and are we not rewarded still by the Miracle of discovering the Face of Jesus in our hands?