What is the Holy Face Devotion?
Designed by God Himself for the modern era, the Holy Face Devotion is to be an essential element of Catholic spirituality. As a remedy for relativism and modernism, it is to be used by those engaged in the spiritual significance of the times, providing hope and a means for man to do his part in reclaiming all for Christ. Our Lord promised that this devotion will defeat communism.
It is consequently the predecessor to, and sister-devotion of, Fatima, and likewise, its use by man is requested by Heaven as an efficacious weapon in the celestial battle of our era.
The Greatest Grace, Second Only to the Sacraments
The Holy Face Devotion (Reparation to the Holy Face) is no less than the very pinnacle of all devotions. (Devotions are forms of popular piety outside the liturgy, which is, however, their origin and aim.) The Devotion is a most efficacious tool, requested by God, for man to do his part to reclaim our Church and times for Christ. Our Lord revealed that His wounded, Holy Face, as exterior object of adoration in the reparation for offenses against the first three commandments, is the greatest grace second only to the Sacraments.
It is perhaps only in this era, from a hindsight perspective, and with the benefit of successive devotions to Christ and Mary, each augmenting and complementing the pinnacle Holy Face Revelations, that the full treasury of this Reparation to the Godhead may now be appreciated. It is only now, in this seemingly (new) “worst of times,” that the effects of neglecting the devotion are being realized, as well as the ever-increasing necessity of it as remedy.
The Holy Face Devotion: “Most Beautiful Work Under the Sun”
Our Lord not only said of the devotion that it was “the most beautiful work that has yet appeared on the face of the earth,” but that “Satan will make use of every means in his power to annihilate this work from the very outset.” Indeed, it seems he has, for almost no one of this time now knows about or practices it. The special attention given to it by the devil indicates the degree of importance it has in the ultimate spiritual unfolding of things.
Mother of All Devotions
Regarding the devotion’s significance, Our Lord Himself explained within the revelations how this Reparation to the Divinity of the Triune God, versus those pertaining more to the sacred humanity of Christ, is the highest devotion, the “mother of all devotions,” though clearly, each are immeasurably valuable and interrelated; in fact, the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts are intrinsically tied to it.
Offenses against the Godhead as represented by the Holy Face are offenses against the “face of the Church,” or her doctrine. Our present modern predicament of an unprecedented marked decline in morals ultimately revolves around an unwillingness by the world to submit to the teachings of Our Lord preserved within the doctrine of the Catholic Church. Reparation to the Holy Face is “intimately allied to the great Work of [Christ’s] Redemption and is the most noble and the most necessary work of our times,” for God is demanding a new effort whose object is to repair the most loathsome crimes of modern society, “deep rooted impiety and absolute incredulity.”
Offered With Christ: The Holy Face Devotion as Man’s Modern Participation in the Great Redemption
The Holy Face Devotion is a Work of Reparation designed to reorient man to God, offered by man in union with Christ to the Father, by virtue of the merits of Christ’s dolorous Face. It is described by Our Lord Himself as “the most beautiful work under the sun.” Not “trumping” the beauty of Christ’s Redemption, it is, rather, an extension of it. It is evidently both pleasing and fitting in God’s eyes that mankind should take a more specific role in Redemption, given how grave his offenses to God have become in modern times.
Christ is giving us, in mercy, His Face to be offered by mankind to appease the wrath of God and to bring salvation to men. It is the completion of the circle. Man is to assist in the salvation of his neighbor by offering in reparation the most holy and adorable Face of God’s Son (originally wounded for man’s offenses) for unprecedented crimes against the first three commandments, that he might be saved.
 Sister Mary St. Peter, Life of Sister Mary St. Pete, ed. M. L’Abbe Janvier (France, 1884), 311. It is beautiful in God’s eyes because it is an extension of Christ’s great Work of Redemption and is offered in union with Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
 Ibid., 154.
 Ibid., 198.
 Ibid., 124, 130, 149.
 Ibid., 244-45.
 Ibid., 159. Our Lord said, “In no other time has iniquity reached such a degree.”
 Ibid., 311-12.
How I Came to Write About the Holy Face Devotion
Sister Marie St. Pierre of the Holy Family was a young French Carmelite nun who received revelations from Christ in the mid-nineteenth century. Our Lord desired for her to initiate the Holy Face Devotion to make reparation for sins of atheism, blasphemy, and the profanation of Sunday. It was a timely message, occurring soon after the fresh offenses against the first three commandments brought by the prevailing “freethinking” ideology of the French Revolution.
I first learned of this now neglected, seemingly obscure devotion because Sr. Marie St. Pierre is also my great-great-great aunt. There is no merit in merely being a relation of a very holy person, of course, but I have always felt an obligation to at least understand and practice the devotion to the best of my ability, as well as to pass along what I know to my children. I was content with this level of “commitment” until recently, when I was reading a biography of Venerable Leon Dupont to my sons.
Venerable Dupont is the “other half” of the story regarding the Holy Face Devotion. He used his wealth and prestige to inform the public of it, and it was at his hands that thirty years of the Church’s greatest miracle working were manifested. The miracles were effected through the prayers of the devotion and oil from a lamp burning in front of a Holy Face image, which had been touched to the Veronica’s Veil in the Vatican. This original veil had become miraculously “enlivened” for three hours on December 27, 1848, the third day of a Christmas octave exposition. (The Holy Face image linked to the devotion is from a hand-drawn copy of this “Miracle of the Vatican.”)
Venerable Dupont played no small part in helping to show the credibility of the revelations, not just by virtue of these countless miracles, but also by way of his heroically virtuous life, marked by his extraordinary practice of and zeal for the Holy Face Devotion. Unlike Sr. Marie St. Pierre, Leon Dupont lived to see the newly appointed Archbishop of Tours initiate approval of the devotion in 1876; Dupont died the same year. Pope Leo XIII established the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face immediately for the whole world in 1885.
I thought that my sons would relate better to an overall introduction to the devotion by way of Dupont’s life, rather than to that of Sr. Marie St. Pierre’s, so I read Dorothy Scallan’s Holy Man of Tours to them, one of the more readily available biographies of his life. As teens, they quickly questioned how the author could have known certain details of Dupont’s life and thoughts. I also began to wonder.
I researched Scallan’s bibliography and was delighted to be able to locate some (very long) biographies of Dupont, written close to the time of his death by those who knew him, which used as sources hundreds of letters, interviews, and even writings of Dupont himself. Now more acquainted with Dupont’s life, I was saddened to realize that the writer not only added much in the way of literary license to “novelize” Dupont’s life, but she left out amazing known facts, which would have dramatically enhanced the illustration of his remarkably holy and endearing soul. Furthermore, Scallan’s writing style of the 1950’s (including giving dialect to the slaves) would never stand up to the scrutiny of these times.
I am forever indebted to the author, however, for bringing to light the amazing role which Venerable Dupont played in spreading the devotion and for re-familiarizing the world with the truly “holy man of Tours.” The book does read like a novel and is surely meant as only an introduction to the devotion and Dupont’s life, yet the overall result regarding a current reading seems to be a dated book which barely scratches the surface of Dupont’s great depth of soul.
I felt resolved to update Dupont’s life story for the modern reader, but as I researched further to do so, a much, much more urgent need came to light: to help reacquaint the world with the devotion itself.
This website serves as an expanded preface to the book which I am currently writing on the Work of Reparation, but I especially hope that it will begin to more immediately re-introduce to the public this devotion, so powerful that even the most popular saint of our times, St. Therese of Lisieux, referred to it as the “source of all her piety.” Devotion to the Holy Face, perhaps ultimately intended for the third millennium, is a call to hope and spiritual action amidst hitherto unparalleled times of crisis within the Church and the “de-moralization” of our civilization.
Regarding the Holy Face Devotion: Some Family History and Connections
The first ancestor on my mother’s side to live in America was Sister Marie St. Pierre’s eldest brother, another of twelve children born to Pierre and Francoise Portier, Prosper Michel Louis Marie Eluere, who emigrated from France to “Vincennes of America” in 1840. Prosper was the only child to outlive his father Pierre and was the only surviving sibling at the time of Sister St. Pierre’s death. Prosper accompanied the second bishop to Vincennes, Rt. Rev. Celestine de la Hailandiere, who had returned to Rennes, France, to find artisans to help him complete the Saint Francis Xavier Cathedral in Vincennes, the first capital of the Indiana Territory.
Prosper was a skilled blacksmith and later established a business in Vincennes, where he and his wife Mary Louise (Bayard) raised eight children, my great-great-grandfather, Edward L.M. Eluere, being the eldest. Prosper was also well acquainted with and did artisan work for the first Indiana Saint, Mother Theodore Guerin of the Sisters of Providence in Terre Haute, Indiana, who was founding the convent and school at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods at the time.
Prosper Eluere and sons outside their store in Vincennes, Indiana.
Prior to his start in America, Prosper, son of Pierre and brother of Sister St. Pierre, was drafted into the French army and was unable to pay for his replacement by another. Pierre and his sisters were obliged to raise two thousand francs to defray this expense. This, coupled with the ongoing illness of her elder sister, resulted in a hardship for Sister St. Pierre obtaining a dowry to enter a convent. In addition to supplications to Our Lady, her devotion to St. Martin of Tours led her to a dowry and to the convent in Tours, France. There had been another obstacle to her entrance, which had been resolved about the same time:
Pierre and his wife Francoise Portier Eluere were parents of twelve children. However, Francoise died, leaving Pierre a widower with a household and business to operate with the help of his children. The local pastor of Saint Germain in Rennes felt this life was too hard for his friend, “the best of parishioners.” Approaching Eluere about this subject, he was told by Eluere that he was too busy to seek and court a wife. The good priest replied that he himself would find a suitable wife for Eluere and did, in fact, fine him a new and “excellent” wife (39).
She was received into the family with respect and courtesy and doubtless with relief by the children and especially the daughters, who had been caring for the household. Perrine, the second daughter, who had most of the care in lieu of her elder sickly sister, could now leave for Carmel where she became Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre.
Saint Germain in Rennes, France, the home parish of Sister St. Pierre. The Church suffered damage during World War II and has been repaired since. My brother , his wife, and his daughter visited Saint Germain in 2016 and were saddened to realize that no mention of Sister St. Pierre whatsoever could be found within or without the structure. This appears sad evidence of Christ’s prediction that “the devil would do all in his power to stamp out the devotion.”
In the 1830’s the French village that had grown up around Fort Sackville was the most significant settlement west of Bardstown and north of the Ohio River. Consequently, in 1834, when the pope appointed a bishop for the Northwest Territory, he placed the diocese at Vincennes. The first bishop, Servant of God Simon Brute, endured perilous journeys to administer the sacraments throughout all of Indiana and even to the “village” of Chicago.
Brute’s work to build the diocese is legendary and has led to his cause for sainthood. By the time he died in 1839, he had recruited more than two dozen French and German speaking priests to join him. One was his successor, Bishop de la Hailandiere, who commissioned Prosper Eluere from Rennes.(Hailandiere also taught Sister St. Pierre her catechism and encouraged her to becaome a Carmelite.) Both were Frenchmen well acquainted with magnificence of the churches and cathedrals of Europe, and the very plain, unfinished, and undecorated structure first built by Brute was badly in need of Eluere and other artisans worthy of the task of completing such a cathedral. The iron communion rail, as well as the rail around the choir loft and steeple, were completed by Eluere.
 Pope Pius IX declared Dupont “perhaps the greatest miracle worker in Church History.” Pope Saint John Paul II declared Dupont Venerable. The miracles began in 1851.
 Janvier, Pierre Desire. The Holy Man of Tours (Baltimore: John Murphy & Co., 1882) XX-XX.
Sister Saint Pierre, shown with a “Golden Arrow,” representing the prayer of reparation by the same name.
Venerable Leon Dupont.
Mother Theodore, originally from the same region as the Eluere family in Brittany, commissioned Prosper Eluere as a skilled blacksmith to help with ironwork in the various construction projects at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, a school for girls, near the then wild and untamed territory of Terre Haute, Indiana. Traveling from Vincennes, Eluere, along with friends Marie Marsille and Jacques Roquet, replaced a bridge and built a glacier for storing ice from the Wabash river. Eluere also built one hundred iron bedsteads for the convent and school, for which he charged Mother one dollar each. Roquet returned to France, Marsille stayed on at Terre Haute, and Eluere returned to Vincennes where business prospects were favorable and where he had a sweetheart, Miss Bayard. They became my great-great grandparents.
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Our Lord to Sister St. Pierre:
“The treasure of My Holy Face in Itself possesses such tremendous value that through It ALL the affairs of My household can readily be settled.”
In that God is both All Just and Merciful, reparation must come before mercy.
Please join me in the effort to educate others about the necessity for Reparation to the Godhead via the Holy Face Devotion in our time–reparation for ourselves, but especially for others and for our beloved Church. The revelations make clear that the faithful have a duty to do our part to draw down graces for the conversion of the masses. This devotion, as revealed and demanded by Christ, is a most efficacious tool for that end.
(Please go to the “Holy Face Prayers” tab for suggestions about how to practice the devotion.)
Our Lord to Sister St. Pierre: “Woe to those who do not make reparation!”