© 2019 St. Martha's Guild, St. John Cantius Church, Chicago, IL

Order of Saint Veronica

On that Memorable Friday when our divine Savior was faltering under the Cross, thorn-crowned, blood-stained, mud-stained, there stepped from among the crowd a woman who braved the wrath of hundreds of soldiers to offer Him a linen cloth with which to wipe His haggard Face. On this last day of His life He was the object of the bitterest hate which the malice of man could inflict, just as on the first day of His life He was the most beautiful Babe the love of God could create. Christ rewarded the compassion of Veronica by leaving the imprint of His Holy Face on the cloth.

Veronica, we honor thy intrepidity! On that road of agony, insults and ignominies did not move Him–but He could not withstand love. Love called forth the one manifestation of his divine power during His human weakness as He struggled on to Calvary.

When we ponder the love of our Redeemer we wish we could have gone to Bethlehem's lowly manager to have offered a soft, warm coverlet to the Christ-Child, we too long to be as sympathetic as Veronica, as generous as Joseph with his sepulcher.

We can. On many a poverty-stricken Altar dwells the Prisoner of Love. Give Him some assurance of your devotion. Are you willing to make an offering to poor churches and chapels as a token of your self-denial? Can not you and your neighbors make a few little linens for His earthly dwelling place? Suppose you cannot sew beautifully, and have little leisure time and less money–St. Veronica did not wait for someone with linen of a finer texture, nor for one who wore a better mantle–she saw His extreme need and followed the prompting of her loving heart. Can we do less? Love, fervent love, is our greatest need; God will supply skill for our handiwork, means for our purse, if we do our part.

If every woman would make an offering of linens in gratitude of Veronica"s courageous love, we would accomplish undreamed good for the poor churches and chapels. If you could but read some of the pathetic appeals from those lonely toilers, who are spending their strength in desolate places to win souls for the Kingdom of God! They are making superhuman efforts to balance our indifference; they implore us–not somebody else, but you and me–to aid them.

In gratitude for that first great Friday, everyone should become a member of the Order of St. Veronica, by a gift of linens, or a donation of money, (but the linens all ready for the Holy Sacrifice are preferred). There are no yearly dues, no by-laws, just one generous act of love like Veronica's to Him Who, for love of us, carried His Cross to the heights of Calvary.

 


Reprinted from The Art of Making Altar Linens,

Our Sunday Visitor, 1920’s