Linking Saints Veronica, Isaiah, and Thérèse

The Veil of St. Veronica
by El Greco (c. 1580-1582)

123 years ago today, just eight days after her 16th birthday, St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus completed her time as a postulant and as a novice, began to wear a Carmelite habit. 

Intriguingly, it was on this day of “taking the habit” that the little saint tagged on an extra part to her religious name.  On January 10, 1889, Thérèse signed her name for the first time as “Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face”

Her inspiration for adding the words “Holy Face” seems to stem from a few things ... she had embraced a devotion to the Holy Face, based on honoring the suffering face of Christ as imprinted on St. Veronica’s veil.  In addition, Thérèse had also developed a particular fondness for the writings of the Prophet Isaiah … especially Chapter 53 ...

He was spurned and avoided by men,
          a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity,
One of those from whom men hide their faces,
          spurned, and we held him in no esteem.
Isaiah 53:3

In an interesting parallel, near this time frame, Thérèse's father, Louis Martin, was having increased difficulties with his mental health.  Towards the later years of his life, he often covered his suffering head with a handkerchief.