Blessed Maria Pierina De Micheli was a Roman Catholic nun who was born September 11, 1890, in Milan Italy. She is best known for her association with the Holy Face of Jesus and for introducing a medal bearing an image from the Shroud of Turin as part of this devotion.
Blessed Maria Pierina De Micheli was born in Milan on September 11, 1890 to Luigina Radice and Cesare De Micheli of a popular middle-class family, the last of thirteen children, educated in a Christian way, and was Baptized on the day of her birth.
The most important event of her early childhood was the death of the father, who sadly marked all the way to her maturity. On May 3, 1898 at the age of 7, she received Jesus in her First Communion. Recalling that day in 1943 she wrote- “I saw the baby Jesus in the host. Heaven on earth! Today, only by faith, I know he loves me.”Then began a lifetime of heavenly graces and visions, along with many sufferings in union with Jesus. One day while she was praying in St. Peter in Sala’s church (her local parish), Jesus on the Crucifix came alive and spoke to her. On another occasion at the age of twelve, when she was again in her Parish Church during the 3pm Good Friday service, she heard a Voice saying quite distinctly:
“No one gives me a kiss of love on My Face to make amends for the Kiss of Judas.”
In her childlike simplicity, she believed that the voice was heard by everyone and was pained to see that only the wounds were kissed but not the face. In her heart exclaiming, “Have patience, dear Jesus, I will give you a kiss of love”, and when her turn came she lovingly and devoutly imprinted a kiss on His Face. And later as a novice, she was permitted to do night adoration and on the night between Holy Thursday and Good Friday, and while she was praying before Jesus upon the Crucifix, she heard Him say: “Kiss Me.”
Sister Maria Pierina immediately obeyed and her lips felt not the contact with the plaster figure but contact with the living flesh of the Face of Jesus.
After a period of inner strength of her soul because of filial affection for her mother, she joined the Institute of the Daughters of the Immaculate Conception of Buenos Aires and was admitted as a novice, which had just been established in Milan, and took the name Sister Pierina.As years went by, Jesus often showed Himself to her sometimes sad and other times bleeding, asking her for reparation, thus increasing her desire to suffer and to sacrifice herself for the salvation of souls. During the night adoration of the First Friday in Lent in 1936, Jesus, after letting her share in His spiritual sorrow of the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, with His Face covered with blood and profoundly sad, Jesus told her:
“I wish that my Face, which reflects the intimate sorrow of my soul, and the suffering and love of my Heart, be better honoured. He who contemplates me consoles me.”
On the Tuesday following Passion Sunday, Jesus returned to her and said:
“Each time my Face is contemplated I will pour my love into hearts and through my Holy Face the salvation of many souls will be obtained.”
On the first Tuesday of 1937, while she was at prayer, the Lord Jesus instructed her on the devotion to His Holy Face and, in the end, told her:
“Perhaps some souls fear that the devotion to my Holy Face may diminish that to my Sacred Heart. Tell them that, on the contrary, it will complete and increase it. Contemplating my Face, souls will share my sorrows and will feel the need for love and reparation. Is this not the true devotion to my Heart?”.
The Blessed Virgin Mary appears to Pierina requesting the Scapular-Medal of the Holy Face
These manifestations became more and more frequent and in May 1938, while Pierina was at prayer in the Community Chapel, a beautiful Lady, which she knew to be the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared on the altar step in a beam of light, holding a Scapular made of two small pieces of flannel joined by a cord. One of these pieces bore the image of the Holy Face of Jesus with the words “Iliumina Domine Vultum Tuum Super Nos” (May the light of Thy Face, 0 Lord, shine upon us) and the other, a Host surrounded by rays and the words “Mane Nobiscum Domine” (Stay with us, 0 Lord).
Gently the Lady approached and said:
“Listen carefully and refer everything to Father (her priest confessor); This Scapular is an armour of defence, a shield of strength, a pledge of mercy which Jesus wishes to give to the world in these times of lust and hatred against God and His Church. There are very few true apostles. A divine remedy is necessary, and this remedy is the Holy Face of Jesus. All who shall wear a Scapular like this and make, if possible, a visit to the Blessed Sacrament every Tuesday in reparation for the outrages that the Holy Face of my Son Jesus received during His Passion and is still receiving in the Holy Eucharist every day,
– will be strengthened in the Faith, and will be made ready to defend it,
– will overcome all difficulties, internal and external
– and they will have a peaceful death under the loving gaze of my Divine Son”.
She made her first profession on May 23, 1915. In 1919, she was sent to the Motherhouse of the Congregation in Argentina and in 1921, after her solemn profession, she returned to Italy. In her hometown, she served as Mistress of Novices and Superior, until, during 1939, she had undertook to deal with the new foundation of the house in Rome, on which she was named Superior until her death, and in 1940, she served as Regional Superior mandate also for Italy.
On the 26th July 1945, Mother Pierina joined the One Whom she loved. Hers cannot be said to be death, but a transport of love. As she herself wrote in her diary on the 19th of July 1941: “I feel a deep longing to live always united to Jesus, to love Him intensely because my death can only be a transport of love with my Spouse, Jesus.”
On 23 March 2007 the remains of Mother Pierina, left Centonara of Artò, Madonna del Sasso (Verbania) after the Mass in the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, for a short stop in Milan Institute Immaculate Conception. Here was the heartfelt greetings of the sisters, the students, parents, teachers and many faithful devotees of the Holy Face.
In the afternoon of 26 March, the mortal remains of the Venerable Mother arrived in Rome in the Chapel of the Institute Holy Spirit, the Regional House of the Daughters of the Immaculate Conception.
Sister Pierina was beatified on Sunday, May 30, 2010 at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome- the first beatification ever held within its walls.
Quotes of Mother Pierina
Invocation-Prayer to the Holy Face of Jesus:
Oh Holy Face of my sweet Jesus, by that tenderness of love and unspeakable grief with which the Blessed Virgin Mary beheld Thee in Thy painful Passion, grant that our souls may share in that great love and great sorrow, and fulfill more perfectly the Holy Will of God. Amen.
-Imprimatur in Curia Arch. Mediolani on Jan. 25, 1941 -Mons. Cavezzali Pro Vic. Gen
More from her Diary: Her words, and some of Jesus replies:
“Do not deny anything to Jesus.”
“I want what God wants.”
‘Jesus I am yours, do what you want of me.”
Jesus said to me: “Only a few souls let me act with full freedom, so I cannot grant many graces.”
“This morning I asked Jesus His Heart to love it of His own love, and Jesus told me: “If you knew how I love you, you would die from joy.”
I said to Jesus: “Do you believe, oh Jesus, that I love you?” And Jesus replied: “Yes, I do. And do you know when I believe it the most? When you think I have abandoned you, because it is then that you most show your loyalty.”
“O, my sweet Jesus, for your Holy Face bathed with tears, may your Eucharistic Reign triumphs in the sanctity of your priests.”
“O, my sweet Jesus, for the divine light emanating from your Holy Face, dispel the darkness of ignorance and mistake and be the light of sanctity for your priests.”
“O my sweet Jesus, for your Divine Face bathed in a sweat of blood in the agony of Gethsemane, enlighten and strengthen the souls consecrated to you.”
“What matters is to love Jesus” -Words of Blessed Maria Pierina De Micheli