February 21, 2010

Legendary saint

I saw this beautiful statue of St. Veronica in the studio of an artist friend who had just finished retouching it and was about to send her back to her home parish in the province of Bataan. Veronica is the woman who was supposed to have wiped the face of Jesus while he was carrying his cross to Golgotha. The event is commemorated in the 6th station of the traditional form of the Stations of the Cross, which many Catholics all over the world are now going through because it is Lent. The story goes on to say that Jesus' face was imprinted on the veil that Veronica used (not to be confused with the shroud which supposedly covered his body during his burial). There is actually no historical evidence of nor scriptural reference to this woman or the via crucis event, though a few other miraculous legends circulated in Europe during the Medieval Ages about Veronica (if you are interested, you can read the discussion in the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, Catholic Online and Wikipedia). So why call a probably non-existent person a saint for what is probably a non-event? I like how the Catholic Encyclopedia put it: "…there is no reason why the belief that such an act of compassion did occur should not find expression in the veneration paid to one called Veronica…."

statue of St. Veronica

19 comments:

Kim said...

She is not holding "Veronica's Vail," here, although you can see her hands are posed to hold it here. :-).

The Vatican has the supposed veil, and I've seen photos of it taken on a rare day of display. These sorts of relics are very interesting. During all the research on the Shroud of Turin in the 80s and 90s, some historians theorized that Veronica's Veil was really the folded shroud encased so that just the image face was visible, and that it was only after it was taken to Europe that it was removed from that display case and the rest of the front/back image was discovered. There are a couple other Veronica's Veils as contenders for the source of this story of wiping Christ's face. We all love a mystery :-). Where was this Veronica?
-Kim

brattcat said...

What an extraordinary expression the artist has created on this Veronica's face.

Jacob said...

It's the facial expression that got to me, too. But the "reasoning" as espoused in the reference you cited is well...faulty?

BlossomFlowerGirl said...

A beautiful statue - her gown is magnificent, but the expression on the face is what makes you think. She looks so sad. Veronica is my Mum's name.
Cheers.
Melbourne Daily Photo

ρομπερτ said...

Far too many times faith does demand things that are not to be seen, resulting in many times great results.
A beautiful entry of yours. Please have you all a wonderful Sunday.

Meri said...

She's lovely. She looks pensive, sad, troubled.

Steven (Cavite DP) said...

BEAUTIFUL Hilda! Your post made me remembered my Childhood Days everytime it's Holy Wednesday and Good Friday, i always go with my Dad on the Town Procession and we always Light up with Santa Veronica. Until now, He still Go with Santa Veronica Every Year. Very Beautiful Statue!

Steven^^

Don and Krise said...

I hate to sound naive but I do learn so very much from your posts. I have in the past heard bits and pieces of this legend if you will, but your explanation and links helped fill in some blanks.
I have to agree with the others that immediately noticed the facial expression.

BlogusVox said...

"So why call a probably non-existent person a saint for what is probably a non-event?"

Why not? If the Catholic Church produces popes the likes of Borgia, why not a compassionate woman like Veronica, even if she's just a creation of the imagination.

Cezar and Léia said...

What an expression on her face! Remarkable!
God bless you!
Cezar

Dina said...

Wow, she could be a 21st century Veronica.
I also have an artist friend near here who restores old and damaged religious statues. Quite amazing how he changes them.

You can see Station VI on the real Via Dolorosa at
http://jerusalemhillsdailyphoto.blogspot.com/2008/06/via-dolorosa-via-crucis.html

Hilda, thanks for your good input about the "circles" of justice.
That is just one example of how much is lost in Bible translation.

Louis la Vache said...

Hebrews 11:1

Kaori said...

The worried expresion on her face is somehow beautiful. A lovely statue.

Ebie said...

The artist has great hands. I can see deep passion in her face.

Though her outfit looks so modern.

VP said...

The tradition of 'icons not made by hands' goes beyond the Holy Shroud and the Veil of veronica. The scriptural reference exists in the apocryphal (not accepted by the Church) Acts of Pilate.
This type of image is called Acheiropoieta.
By the way, your statue, made by hands, is quite good...

glasgowdailyphoto said...

That is really beautiful Hilda - I love the detail in her gown, and especially the depth of her expression.

Jackie

the donG said...

you're really good at including facts that most of the time i didnt know.

Lois said...

Oh Hilda, she is captivating! I love the expression on her face and her hair is so lovely.

Renee said...

Wow, I never knew any of that. Never even heard her mentioned once. It's interesting that they keep "yanking" saints. I think they recently removed poor, old St. Nicholas from the team roster as well. Saying now that he was fictitious. Which makes me curious about the whole canonization process.