Saint Veronica: An Easter Gift



Saint Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

Saint Veronica is the woman who, on Jesus’s journey to Golgotha for His crucifixion, wiped the sweat, dirt, and blood of our Lord’s face, and brought comfort in His time of trial. She is a very well-known saint, and put herself at risk because of her enduring love for Christ. However, I did not fully understand how much she loved God until a few weeks ago at the Stations of the Cross.  

No specific dates of birth have been recorded for St. Veronica. It is known that she lived in the year 1 A.D., living most of the early years of her life around Jerusalem. Very little of her life before she played her role in the walk to Golgotha has been recorded, only her unfailing love for Jesus and her faith in Him can be inferred.

The crown jewel of the life of St. Veronica is indisputably her act of great love during the sixth Station of the Cross: wiping the face of Our Lord using a cloth before he was to suffer. When she stepped out of the crowd and cleaned the face of Christ, His skin left an imprint of Jesus’s face upon her veil, a reward for her love and faith. She showed humanity that, even in times fear and uncertainty, we can bring the light of God and portray the Fruits of the Spirit* to the world with grace and poise. She had courage in a time of fear, love in a time of hate, and hope in a time of uncertainty. St. Veronica’s help to Jesus in this challenge displayed the best of God’s creation, the deep capacity to love inside of us. The beautiful miracle of St. Veronica’s act of kindness would come to be immortalized in Christian history, as well as in the Stations of the Cross.

There are many stories of St. Veronica after Christ’s passion, varying between the locations of the tale. Taking place in the Rome of the early Christians, St. Veronica, at the command of the emperor Tiberius, brought her veil to him and with one touch, he was healed of his leprosy. At St. Veronica’s passing, she left her veil to the Church and the Pope. Alternatively, St. Veronica was also known to have lived in France, and there married the convert, Zacheus. The couple journeyed to Rome and Quiercy. During their travels, Zacheus became a hermit. Alternatively, St. Veronica turns to preach the word of God to the world, and returns to France, along with relics of Mary, Mother of God, and leaves them in Soulac-sur-Mer, where she was to die. This history is very uncertain and many variations of these tales exist, but most follow this common format.

Listening to the reflection accompanying the Sixth Station of the Cross, I came to know the love of St. Veronica. I could envision the scene in question, picture the horror of the day, the confusion and darkness of the moment, but St. Veronica’s simple act contradicted it all. The act’s great love was stronger than all of the evil around it. This image of pure love and compassion brought me to ponder upon the times when I showed love in hard moments, and the times when I failed. Knowing the glory of the moment, this act moved me to bring this great love in small actions like she could. Mother Teresa’s quote captures the essence of St. Veronica beautifully: “There are no great things, only small things with great love.”

St. Veronica can be viewed as a well-known saint with a simple story, but she is much more than that. St. Veronica took a large risk because she trusted and loved Jesus immensely, needing no assurance that anything would be done in turn for her love and kindness, only wishing to serve. She was able to put love first and fear second, showing a child-like heart in all she did. Realizing this love brought a knowledge of how deep and sincere a true act of love can be, and its rarity in this world. I only came to feel this all at the Stations of the Cross recently, but truly knowing how precious this love is, we should all be reaching to attain a love like this. St. Veronica, pray that we may love God as you did.

*Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control

By Elisabeth Smith ‘28, Rising Middle School Editor