|Agnus Dei Presents!|
|The First Photographic
Revelation of the Shroud:
|Stephen and Nancy Bolettieri
© 2005 Agnus Dei Presents!
|This paper is dedicated to our Lord and His Mother.
Presented for peer review on Friday, May 13, 2005,
the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima.
Approved 13 days later, on
the Feast of Corpus Christi,
and selected for presentation at the
Third Dallas International Conference on the Shroud of Turin,
September 8-11, 2005.
|“The Lord shew His Face to thee,
and have mercy on thee.”
“For a thousand years in Thy sight
are as yesterday, which is past.”
Psalm 89 (90):4
| The Five Pillars!
We had studied the science, the history of the world’s greatest enigma and the conclusion
that it truly wrapped the Body of only one Person became irrefutable to us. It also
became apparent that this Person had the power to touch others — not only with the incredible passionate Image He left on what has become known as the Shroud of Turin, but also in other miraculous ways.
Understanding this, we began to theorize that it was not an “accident” that the mysteries of this cloth would come more clearly into focus at a time when scientific investigative “reasoning” in the 20th Century would throw much doubt and confusion on what believers call “faith.”
It also became apparent that this cloth was consecrated to that one special Person. As such, we began to comprehend that NOTHING could happen to this cloth that was not permitted by this powerful force. It was, as the Scriptures quoted above, just a question of time. And in that time, whether it be a day or a thousand years, the Lord, we believed, was moving in His Mercy to draw, once again, the world to His Face in His Passion!
But was there evidence we could point to to prove such activity? And if so, where could we possibly discover it and be assured that it was not false?
We had discovered in our years of giving presentations and in seeking to find the answers to so many questions regarding that elusive term “faith,” that “the Shroud,” as we learned to proclaim, “is surrounded by Saints!”
Therefore, the excitement ran through us: if the Shroud is consecrated to the most powerful Person who ever lived and nothing happens to it by “accident,” could we then find His Hand at work in “setting up,” so to speak, the first photographic revelation of the cloth in 1898?
For us, the astounding answer came in discovering centuries-old messages and statements made to or by Saints throughout the last half of the 2nd Millennium.
These statements and messages gave a clear picture of an infallible Hand working behind the scenes to bring to fruition His purpose. A purpose that eventually brought together all the necessary elements to reveal the true nature of the Holy Face imprinted on the Shroud. This purpose begins with a FOUNDATION; VENERATION; REPARATION; INSPIRATION, and finally, with the first photograph itself, REVELATION!
| The First Pillar:
The Lord will set the Foundation toward the Revelation of His Holy Face on the Shroud with a mother’s veneration in the 16th Century. A mother who, like the Shroud itself, was at that time part of the Savoy family’s kingdom.
With her relatives’ knowledge and personal love for the faint Image on the cloth, Françoise de Sionnay as a young wife will kneel before the Shroud in a private exhibition of 1566. In prayer before the cloth, she will ask God to grant her a son who will grow up to be a priest.
The next year, a man who not only grows up to be a priest but will later be canonized as a Saint, Francis de Sales (1567-1622), is born to the noble family!
However, his father, François de Sales de Boisy, did not have the same prayer as his wife. For his eldest son, de Boisy envisioned a legal career in the Chambery senate.
But there would be an interruption in his vision and, at the same time, the Lord would lay another Foundation for the Shroud. In 1578, as we all know, the cloth would be moved from Chambery and come to a new resting place in its 2,000-year journey: Turin, Italy.
A home that was the result of another interaction between Heaven and a Saint.
This time, it would be the archbishop of Milan, Charles Borromeo (1538-84), who would be the catalyst. Vowing to his God that if the Lord would have mercy on the people of his city, who were suffering a great plague in the years 1576-77, the cardinal would walk across the Swiss Alps, even barefoot, to venerate His Lord’s burial cloth!
With the plague miraculously lifted, Borromeo will set off on his journey to make good his vow in 1578, weathering a rainstorm at the beginning of his 90-mile pilgrimage from Milan to Turin. But will he have to attempt to cross the Swiss Alps barefoot?
Is it not true that in His Mercy, when God knows human frailties cannot equal their vow to Him, He will graciously find an alternative?
In this case, Borromeo will not have to walk across snow-capped jagged peaks to reach the Shroud, for the Savoys, in deference to the cardinal, have brought the cloth to Turin!
Was this not, perhaps, the Lord ensuring his faithful the ability to fulfill an almost impossible vow? When the Saint arrives in Turin, 40,000 people will join Borromeo in his veneration and celebrate the sacred Image of their Savior on this ancient cloth!
Borromeo will remain in Turin eight days, many times carrying the cloth in solemn procession. Six years later, by 1584, as he takes to his deathbed, the Saint will have a representation of the Shroud placed over his personal altar.
“Coincidentally,” by 1578, the life of St. Francis de Sales would, like the Shroud, take a different turn. Reflecting at this time on his inner spiritual values, de Sales received the tonsure, begrudgingly approved by his father; it was an indication that the plans of his paternal parent were not to meet fruition. As his spiritual life progressed and with the help of a cousin priest, the reluctant lawyer to the Savoy Chambery court, de Sales suddenly found himself appointed as the provost of Geneva in 1593.
A post to which his pious father could not deny at the request of the Geneva bishop, who it is reported, made this utterance regarding the young man who had impressed him by turning down the family offer of a Savoy prince to be a member of his senate: “This young man will be a great personage some day!” said Bishop Claude de Granier. “He will become a pillar of the Church and my successor in this see.”
Like the Shroud, Francis de Sales, would now no longer call Chambery his home. Nor would he marry into the Savoy dynasty as his father had planned. But he would, as the bishop declared, become his successor in Geneva!
Following in the footsteps of his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Francis de Sales will become a famous preacher. Among his many well-known writings is his “Defense of the Standard of the True Cross of Our Saviour, Jesus Christ.”
Although these writings are mentioned first among a long list by those who know the works of this great Saint, how often it is overlooked as to his true devotion.
From his friend and neighbor bishop of Belley, Mgr. Camus, writes regarding de Sales’ life and love for the Shroud that, like Charles Borromeo, “The copy of this sacred effigy was his favorite image. He had it in embroidery, in painting, in oils, in line engraving, in illumination, in half relief and engraving. He put it in his bedroom, in his chapel, in his oratory, in his study, in his living room, in his gallery, everywhere.”
There was a simple reason for this love de Sales had for the Shroud, evident in his own statement: “It is the country’s shield; it is our great Relic. ... Certainly, I have a particular reason for being devoted to it, for my mother dedicated me to Our Lord, when I was in her womb, before this holy standard of our salvation.”
Today, many are rightly concerned not to alter the cloth, nor taint the information it may still secretly enclose. Not so for St. Francis de Sales! In his letter, composed on the Feast of the Holy Shroud (instituted by Pope Julius II in 1506), de Sales writes from Annecy on May 4th in 1614:
“At about this time, a year ago, I was in Turin, and, whilst displaying the Holy Shroud to such a great crowd of people, a few drops of sweat fell from my face on to this Holy Shroud itself. Whereupon, our heart made this wish: May it please You, Saviour of my life, to mingle my unworthy sweat with Yours, and let my blood, my life, my affections merge with the merits of Your sacred sweat!
My very dear Mother, the Prince Cardinal was somewhat annoyed that my sweat dripped onto the Holy Shroud of my Saviour; but it came to my heart to tell him that Our Lord was not so delicate, and that He only shed His sweat and His blood for them to be mingled with ours, in order to give us the price of eternal life. And so, may our sighs be joined with His, so that they may ascend in an odour of sweetness before the Eternal Father. ... ”
Declared a “Doctor of the Church” in 1877, it is clear that the Foundation for our finding that the Shroud Is Surrounded by Saints begins with Francis de Sales’ statement that the cloth is the “holy standard of our salvation”! A declaration that rings from a man made a “pillar of the Church” 300 years after St. Charles Borromeo’s 1577 vow was fulfilled before the Shroud in Turin, Italy in 1578!
In this Foundation, we find the beginning concept that the first photographic Revelation of the Shroud was not an “accidental” discovery but a plan of Divine Providence!
The Lord had ensured His burial cloth had now reached its final destination and the work to reveal its true nature was just unfolding.
As He continued this work, the Lord will curiously remain within the confines of the borders of Italy and France (a nation known as the First Daughter of the Church), touching the lives of those who consecrated themselves to Him!
|St. Charles Borromeo
venerates the Shroud.
| The Second Pillar:
And the Lord will move His followers from Foundation to continued Veneration when Jane Francis de Chantal (1572-1641) becomes another Saint who surrounds the Shroud. Following in the footsteps of de Sales, her spiritual adviser, the renowned founder of the Order of the Visitation nuns will pray before the cloth during a private showing in 1639.
Interestingly, akin to Borromeo’s vow, after de Chantal’s veneration, the city of Turin will stage a public exhibition of the holy relic the following year to give thanks to God for the end of a plague that had ravaged its streets!
If there was any doubt that the growing list of Saints venerating the cloth was not unique, Benedict XIV (pontificate 1740-58) will bespeak of the various popes who, like himself, had also honored the linen, stating, “The Holy Shroud, that outstanding relic, is preserved at Turin. Popes Paul II, Sixtus IV, Julius II, and Clement VII all bear witness that this is the same in which our Lord was wrapped!”
The way for Reparation by others was now paved by the Church’s centuries-old embrace of the Shroud.
|Sts. Francis de Sales
and Jane de Chantal.
| The Third Pillar:
With the Foundation and Veneration of His burial cloth secured in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Lord’s desire will become more and more apparent before the moment of Revelation in 1898.
For it will be He Himself who will directly intervene.
An intervention in which one can only understand the total need for Reparation before Revelation can even take place!
In this need, He will turn, as He has so many times in the past, to a humble Carmelite nun. A woman living a quiet, pious life; one who will later die, as those around her attest, in the odor of sanctity!
Her name is Sister Mary of St. Peter and of the Holy Family (1816-48).
Inspiring this saintly woman in regard to what He called His “Work of Reparation” for the first time in 1843, the Lord will communicate various messages to her which she recorded, and that were approved as authentic after 30 years of scrutiny by the Church.
Her inspired writings were originally known as the Devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus. Today, they can be found in the book, The Golden Arrow, named after the prayer of Reparation the Lord specifically dictated to her.
In October 1845, the Lord told Sister Marie, as she writes, “that in our present age the wicked, by their blasphemies, renew all those outrages that disfigured His Holy Face” as He carried His Cross to Calvary! To make Reparation for these “outrages,” the Lord stated: “I seek Veronicas to wipe and venerate My Divine Face which has but few adorers! … By My Holy Face you will work wonders!”
For Sister Marie Pierre, no one had to tell her that “these divine revelations which I am forced to express in language all too feeble to convey” was a difficult assignment. But the Lord warned her, “You will be guilty of an act of injustice if you do not make known these revelations!”
Yet, who would listen to the humble Carmelite? However, Jesus affirmed for her that “although the fruits which you bear have not yet ripened, be assured that finally the time will come when the Work shall be established.”
By 1847, the Lord, Sister Marie Pierre wrote, made “the following promise: ‘Rejoice, My daughter, because the hour approaches when the most beautiful Work under the sun will be born!’ ”
But it was not to be accomplished during the life of Sister Marie. Instead, a faithful friend of hers and retired lawyer, Leo Dupont (1797-1876), will take up the cause entrusted to the nun. Securing a copy of the Holy Face modeled on the Veil of Veronica and touched to that relic, Dupont will venerate the Face of Christ in his home, even keeping a burning oil lamp beside it to ensure darkness did not envelop the Image.
Known as the “Apostle of the Holy Face Devotion,” Dupont would bring others before the Image in his home, leading them in the prayers the Lord had given to his friend, Sister Marie Pierre.
And for the Holy Man of Tours (as he was also known) and those he welcomed in his home, this was no ordinary Image. For it was a copy of a miraculous Image which had occurred just one year after the death of Sister Marie!
It was in January 1849, when Pope Pius IX ordered that public prayers be offered to make Reparation to God since revolutionary disorders, a prophecy the Lord had given to Sister Marie, were shaking both France and Italy. Veronica’s Veil was presented to the faithful for Veneration. As recorded by Peter Janvier in his 1894 book, The Devotion to the Holy Face at St. Peter’s of the Vatican, a miraculous “prodigy” took place:
“Through another veil of silk which covers the true Relic of Veronica’s Veil, and absolutely prevents the features from being distinguished, the Divine Face appeared distinctly, as if living, and was illumined by a soft light; the features assumed a death-like hue, and the eyes, deep sunken, wore an expression of great pain. The Canons immediately notified the clergy of the Basilica; the people were called in. Many wept; all were impressed with a reverential awe. An apostolic notary was summoned; a certificate was drawn up attesting the fact. A copy of it was sent to the Holy Father at Gaeta. For many days this prodigy, which lasted three hours, was the sole topic of conversation at Rome. On the evening of the same day, some veils of white silk on which was represented the Holy Face, were applied to the miraculous veil.”
This white silk copy was the Image which hung in Dupont’s home. Secured by the prioress of the Carmelites who knew well Sister Marie’s revelations, she ensured Dupont was among those who received two. Upon receiving them, the Holy Man of Tours said, “Here at last seems to be the first ray of hope that Sister Marie Pierre’s mission of spreading devotion to the Holy Face shall yet become a reality.”
And with it Veneration and Reparation became one as miraculous cures of the sick became commonplace before the Image! For Leo Dupont, the formula for the miraculous cures was simple: the prayers of Reparation recommend to Sister Marie Pierre by the Lord Himself, followed by an anointing from the oil that had burned in the lamp next to the silk copy of the Veil. The anointing was accompanied by the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi (on whose feast day Sister Marie Pierre was born): “May the Lord bless thee and keep thee. May the Lord show thee His Face and have mercy on thee … .”
Once again, though, the Lord would wait for His servant to die before completing the chapter Leo Dupont so desired: the official recognition of the Holy Face Devotion by the Church. With the exemplary lives of Sister Marie Pierre and Dupont, along with the prodigy in 1849 and the miraculous cures which followed, Pope Leo XIII will act at the request of nearly 60 bishops and cardinals ranging from the heart of the devotion with the archbishop of Tours, William Meignan, leading the cause, to the archbishop of New York, Cardinal McCloskey, to others around the world.
In a brief issued by the Holy See in 1885, Leo XIII will establish the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face. The devotion, it was said, was to “make Reparation for the sins and crimes of modern disbelievers and of militant atheism on the march.”
The Work of Reparation now had a voice and would add another Saint to its long list of devotees. Right at the beginning, she will join the new Archconfraternity at the tender age of 12! And, like Sister Marie Pierre, when she is old enough to make her vows, she will join the Carmelite order.
Today, this Saint is another “Doctor of the Church.”
We know her as St. Therese, the Little Flower (1873-97).
Purposely taking up the cause of Sister Marie Pierre and Leo Dupont in making Reparation, the 15-year-old took the name Sister Therese of the Child Jesus and the
As her sister Celine wrote, “Devotion to the Holy Face was, for Therese, the crown and complement of her love for the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord. The Blessed Face was the mirror wherein she beheld the Heart and Soul of her Well-Beloved. Just as the picture of a loved one serves to bring the whole person before us, so in the Holy Face of Christ Therese beheld the entire Humanity of Jesus. We can say unequivocally that this devotion was the burning inspiration of the Saint’s life. … Her devotion to the Holy Face transcended, or more accurately, embraced, all the other attractions of her spiritual life.”
Indeed, St. Therese will compose many prayers of Reparation herself to the Holy Face. Stating most eloquently, and, perhaps, even prophetically before the Revelation of the first photograph, the Little Flower writes: “The just will recognize Him not only by the Cross, symbol of salvation that will precede His coming, but more exactly, by His Face, which will shine on the last day.”
But the Lord was not just focusing His attention on His Work of Reparation with those who lived within the borders of the First Daughter of the Church.
The year before His vision to Sister Marie Pierre, the Lord had secured continued Veneration of the Shroud in His Foundation across the Alps by inspiring a young Turin priest to have his first encounter with the cloth at the age of 27.
During the exhibition of 1842, the priest’s eyes will be filled with the Blood and Passion of his Savior on a simple linen cloth. Today, that priest is known as St. John Bosco (1815-88). As a result of that encounter, Don Bosco and his followers will become the focus of the Lord’s next Divine strategy regarding the Revelation of the true positive Image of His Holy Face on the Shroud of Turin in
|Sister Marie Pierre
and the Golden Arrow!
|One of the white silks
depicting the Veil of Vericona.
|The Holy Man of Tours,
|St. Therese and her two devotions:
the Holy Child and the Holy Face!
| The Fourth Pillar:
“Coincidence” or Divine Providence is the question one must always ask when dealing with matters beyond our earthly veil. In this vein, was it “coincidence” or part of the providential strategy that this Saint will take for his patrons Sts. Charles Borromeo and Francis de Sales?
In reality, when one examines the life of Don Bosco, the answer is apparent that it is Inspiration that enabled him to follow providential strategy.
Inspiration that would cause him to form a new order of priests. And from what Foundation did this new order arise?
Named after one of Bosco’s three patrons, the Society of St. Francis de Sales, or the Salesian Order as it is more commonly known, would renew the Truth that the Shroud of Turin is the “holy standard of our salvation!”
Can we be assured that the life of St. John Bosco was one of Inspiration — Inspiration to ensure the Work of Reparation would continue before Revelation was completed?
To begin with, oddly, Don Bosco was born on an interesting date: August 16, 1815. Almost 1,000 years earlier on that date, a different defining moment in the Shroud’s history took place. It was in Constantinople that a cloth known as an “Image not made by human hands” took center stage in Hagia Sophia. Under the name the Mandylion — as evidence indicates the Shroud was described in the 1st Millennium — a linen cloth with a very faint Image was brought to the Throne of Divine Mercy after entering the city the day before as a captured prize from iconoclasts who controlled its previous home of Edessa, Turkey.
In this, one of the earliest clues to the Shroud’s most probable 1st-millennium history, the archdeacon of Hagia Sophia, Gregory, will attest to the fact that a cloth bearing the likeness of Christ was unfolded on that date with the blood from the side wound clearly visible! Is it a “coincidence,” then, that Heaven would ensure a Saint who will ultimately bear witness to the Shroud’s authenticity would be born on such an important date — the Feast of the Holy Mandylion — in the cloth’s mysterious history?
A Saint who will, akin to the Revelation of the side wound in 944, be an integral part toward the Revelation of the true nature of the Holy Face on the cloth. A Face hidden in darkened fibers to the Byzantines and others who did not comprehend its nature as a negative portrait in the eras before the invention of photography.
Further proof of this Inspiration that can only come from God begins for Don Bosco, like St. Therese, at an early age. In writings regarding the life of the Saint, the famous Turin priest, it is reported, has his first spiritual dream at nine! A dream in which he envisions young boys are blaspheming the holiness of God. For Bosco in his dream, it is a moment for him to silence the offenders with his fists if necessary!
He is confronted, however, with a different image: one of “a Man in the prime of his age, nobly clad; a white mantle covers all his body and his face shines so that one cannot look upon it. This personage calls him by his name, orders him to put himself at the head of the unruly troop, and adds this counsel: ‘It is not with blows, but with gentleness and charity that you will make them friends. Begin immediately to instruct them on the ugliness of sin and the reward of virtue.’ ”
Is this moment not the formative point for the entire Salesian philosophy? A philosophy based also on the same love and reverence for God’s holiness in the Foundation de Sales and Borromeo accorded to the Shroud of Turin. A cloth whose presence in his city Bosco will use time and again by bringing wayward youth before it to embrace the “gentleness and charity” that made them his lifelong friends.
On the feast of his patron Francis de Sales in 1888 (old Roman calendar), Don Bosco will take to his deathbed never to rise. But before his death two days later on January 31, St. John had in his life touched the heart of one Salesian who would, unknowingly to the visionary priest, be the ultimate catalyst to the Shroud’s first photographic Revelation!
A Revelation that had first demanded on account of God’s holiness a Work of Reparation that was accomplished in the prayers and Veneration to the Holy Face by Sister Marie Pierre and her successor in this mission, St. Therese. Two Carmelites who both died of tuberculosis; one, Sister Marie, at the age of 33, and the Little Flower at the age of 24, after 12 prayerful years of humble Reparation to the Holy Face. Tuberculosis: the very disease in which one experiences a death like those who die on a cross!
Another oddity in the long list of “coincidences” vs. Divine Providence is the fact the Work of Reparation both devout nuns accomplish involved Veneration of a miraculous Image of the Holy Face that was, perhaps, a foretaste of what was yet-to-be revealed. For few in the world of the faithful had seen or heard of the prodigy regarding the Veil in Rome, nor could the miracle be scientifically tested as its nature was not continuous.
But that fact — that lack of knowledge or ability to visibly see such a continuous miracle — was about to change after the death of St. Therese in 1897.
The next year, the Shroud would be exhibited.
In the 300-plus years that are but a moment in time for the Lord, He had now completed His plan of a Foundation for His burial cloth, its continued Veneration, and an abundance of Reparation to finish His plan of Inspiration.
Enter the Salesian priest touched by Don Bosco! The culmination of centuries gathering together the final Inspiration — for the Lord now has enough Reparation to allow the first photograph — an act that brings about ultimate Revelation!
|St. John Bosco and friends.|
| The Fifth Pillar:
It was just a few months before his death that Don Bosco will pass the Shroud torch when he ordains Natale Nogier de Malijai.
A teacher in physics and chemistry, Don Nogier was also “coincidentally” an amateur photographer; one who was well acquainted with the Shroud from his mentor’s inspired love for the cloth.
Here was also another “oddity” in this continuous unfolding toward the first scientific Revelation of the Shroud in the sense that from the beginning, the Lord, as only He could, ensured this torch passed from one worker to the next before each died as they completed their personal part of His mission.
None, of course, died comprehending what the ultimate end was to their work!
St. Therese — who entered the Carmelite convent the same year St. John Bosco died — would be the last in this line of workers who would not live to see the true nature of the Holy Face on the Shroud.
Don Nogier would be the first blessed to witness it!
Nogier was also one of the first Salesians to hail from France: a marriage now of the two nations’ borders the Lord had been working within to fulfill the first Revelation.
As Nogier relates, he was not only engaged in “pious thoughts” regarding the Passion of the Lord as evident on the famed cloth, but he “soon developed a scientific preoccupation (you will forgive a science teacher for such a thing) concerning the authenticity of the famous Shroud. That is why I meticulously examined every slightest detail of this double imprint of Our Lord’s Body, which stood out sufficiently from this cloth, despite the effect of time, together with the numerous scorch marks left on the Shroud after a fire and stains resulting from tests applied in the Middle Ages, and which no painting could have withstood.”
This led the inquisitive Salesian to simply ask these fundamental questions: “1. What is the nature or, if you like, the chemical or physical cause of the impression of the strokes that have reproduced and preserved the image of the divine Saviour? 2. Is this image positive or negative?”
In hindsight, it is easy for one to comprehend that the Lord was already inspiring this 37-year-old to further the study of a cloth that his mentor’s patron had long ago called the “holy standard of our salvation!”
An Inspiration that would lead Nogier to recommend to the members in his amateur club that a photograph of the Shroud should be taken during the upcoming exhibition! The reality of his suggestion’s final effect became clear to him as he viewed the Image on the cloth for the first time through binoculars:
“The body reliefs were of a darker shade, whereas the deep set or receding parts were of a lighter shade,” Nogier wrote. “It did not take me long to compare the image of the Shroud to some kind of negative photograph. Long conversant, moreover, with photographic art, it quickly occurred to me that a photographic reproduction of this extraordinary document would yield interesting results. That is why I congratulate myself today on having been among those who then exerted themselves to have the Relic photographed, despite a certain opposition which was happily overcome.”
Indeed, the young Salesian who had the Shroud torch passed from the very hands of Don Bosco himself was enamored “from the very first day of the solemn exposition, with the idea of having the Holy Shroud photographed.”
A photograph which he was inspired to believe would “obtain directly on the photographic plate a positive image of Christ.”
Now, in May 1898, Nogier would no longer, as he had done in the past, simply gaze upon a faint Image the cloth naturally displayed to the human eye that still brought him and his predecessors into a “meditative contemplation, as all were inspired to do by such a wonderful testimony of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
No, from this moment on, Nogier would, with Secundo Pia, and the others involved (including another Salesian) in the first photograph of the Shroud, move the world’s eyes to gaze upon an impassioned Face. A Face that — akin to the prodigy of 1849 — had been mysteriously veiled for almost two millennia!
Was it not in the Lord’s Passion for those who not only consecrate themselves to Him but follow His Inspirations that it will be Don Nogier who will be one of three that sees — for the first time — the true likeness of the Face of Christ as the miraculous positive Image comes to life on a negative plate?
An Image that now would confirm the very Truth of the Gospel that “the light shineth in the darkness … ” John 1:5.
A light shining in the darkness itself that night “when the most beautiful Work under the sun” was born!
Fulfilling His Work of Reparation with the Revelation of His Holy Face, the Lord now beckons the world with an incredible majestic and miraculous Image — more powerful than the Veil of Veronica — as another “witness, to give testimony of the light, that all might believe … ” John 1:7.
An Image that now, since that first Revelation in 1898, beckons a world to imitate the Science of the Saints!
A Revelation that beckons all to:
— as St. Charles Borromeo did, make a vow to venerate the holy relic.
— as St. Francis de Sales did, gaze upon the Shroud as the “holy standard of our salvation!”
— as Sister Marie Pierre, the Holy Man of Tours and St. Therese did, make reparation to a Face so disfigured by the sins of mankind.
— as St. John Bosco and his followers did, be inspired to let the Lord lead no matter where He may take one.
— as St. Peter did, answer the question that the Lord asks those who today gaze upon the Image of His Face on this cloth: “But whom do you say I am?” Matthew 16:15.
In the end, only the individual can answer that question.
And while some respond as Peter did and others as Judas, there will be no one who will be able to say they did not know or that no one informed them; for in the Revelation of the first photograph of the Shroud of Turin, “the Lord shew[s] His Face to thee [to] have mercy on thee.”
Is this not the ultimate point for the Revelation of the Holy Face on the Shroud of Turin?
A Revelation that covers more than three centuries of work and provides the evidence that it was “Divine Providence” and not merely an “accidental discovery” that the first photograph of the Shroud exposed the true nature of the Holy Face.
A Face that once was hidden and now stands in direct defiance of the faithless.
Is this not the Lord’s way, through the irrefutable facts that surround His burial cloth, to ironically use the very vehicle — science itself — in which “modern disbelievers” and “militant atheists” (as He called them to Sister Marie Pierre) have rallied around to make the false claim that “God is dead”?
In this regard, for us, the “Future of Shroud Science” is put into perspective.
It is, as we were inspired to believe as attendees at the 2001 Dallas conference, part of the “3rd Wave of Sindonology.”
A wave that lies not only in the continued work of the microscope or library, but in studying the “Science of the Saints.”
Saints, who, centuries before, verified the message of this cloth and instinctually surrounded this holy relic!
A science in which they — by faith — engaged in securing for the Lord a FOUNDATION, VENERATION, REPARATION, and INSPIRATION that resulted in a miraculous REVELATION.
A Revelation that not only includes the true nature of the Holy Face of Christ imprinted on a simple ancient cloth, but the reality that the Shroud Is Surrounded by Saints!
If, then, there are those who Crucified the Light, should we not also expect that there will be those who will crucify the Shroud, which is only a REFLECTION of that great Light?
In this Reflection, as we look back at the centuries of the Lord’s Handiwork toward His ultimate Revelation, and we interact with skeptics or others who may doubt, we reiterate the formula which St. Peter so eloquently recorded for all who try to follow any Work of God: “But of this one thing be not ignorant, my beloved, that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” II Peter 3:8.
Therefore, when there are those who remain indifferent to this Image, this Revelation, this Work of Reparation, let us all then comprehend the words of our Lord to Sister Marie Pierre when He stated: “Now if there will still be those who will not recognize that this truly is My Work, it is because they close their eyes!”
|Artistic rendering of the first photograph of the Shroud's Holy Face
by St. Therese's sister Celine!