The Oblate Sisters of the Holy Face group was founded at St. Gertrude the Great Roman Catholic Church in Summer of 2022. In September 2022 our first members, Sister Eulalia of the Holy Child Jesus Doctor of the Sick, and Sister Ulrica of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, started their novitiate.
The spirituality of our Oblates centers around devotions, especially in honor of Our Lord’s Sacred Heart and to His Holy Face. Perhaps the greatest proponent of this devotion was St. Thérèse of Lisieux who was so impressed by it that on the day she received her Carmelite habit, she took as her name in religion “Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.” She wanted to remain hidden from the world and be Our Lord’s “little Veronica” who would console Him. In 1908 Pope St. Pius X granted permission for the feast of the Holy Face to be celebrated in France with its proper Office and Mass.
The apostolate of our Oblate Sisters is to help the pastoral ministry of Bishop Charles McGuire and the priests of his Salesian Sacerdotal Society. The Sisters do not take vows, but instead make an act of oblation where they promise to help the priests in whatever way they are needed, in the spirit of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty, and obedience. Our first Sisters work in various areas, including the sacristy, choir, school, Sunday Catechism, and with the parish Sodality of Charity and the annual Girls’ Camp.
The second part of their apostolate is doing acts of reparation. They answer to the request of Our Lady at Fatima: “Pray, pray much, and sacrifice for sinners, for many souls go to hell because there is no one to sacrifice and pray for them.” They dedicate their daily Rosary for all priests to support their apostolate of saving souls, and recite the Litany of the Holy Face in reparation of the sins of the world and for conversion of sinners.
The habit of an Oblate Sister consists of a simple black dress and veil, with white collar and cuffs. The shoes and socks are likewise black. The belt is white for the postulants and novices, and black for those who have made their final oblation. From the belt hangs a 15-decade Rosary with a Holy Face crucifix.
After the postulancy an Oblate receives her religious name and is invested with the Holy Face medal. On the medal there is the image of the Holy Face and the words “tutti gli uomini vedranno la tua salvezza” (Italian for “all men will see Thy salvation”, cfr. Luke 3:6). On the reverse side there’s an image of the Holy Shroud of Turin (“la sindone”) with the words “icona della passione di Gesu”.