Blessed Maria Pierina de Micheli


Feastday: September 11

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. She was born Giuseppina De Micheli and took the name Sister Maria Pierina when she took a nun’s habit in 1916. She became a nun in the Congregation of the Daughters of the Immaculate Conception.

Sister Maria Pierina did not initiate the Holy Face of Jesus devotion, for it had already been started almost 100 years earlier by a French nun also named after Saint Mary, Sister Marie of St Peter from Tours France. Both nuns claimed visions of Jesus and Mary as part of their motivation for following the devotion. From 1919 to 1921 she was sent to Argentina where her attachment to the Holy Face devotion grew stronger. After her return to Milan she was eventually elected as the mother superior of her house and began to spread the devotion.

On the first Friday in Lent 1936 she reported a vision of Christ in which Jesus appeared to her and said: “I will that My Face, which reflects the intimate pains of My Spirit, the suffering and the love of My Heart, be more honored. He who meditates upon Me, consoles Me”. Further reported visions of Jesus and Mary urged Sister Maria Pierina to make a medal with the Holy Face of Jesus.

Further reported visions of Jesus and Mary urged Sister Maria Pierina to make a medal with the Holy Face of Jesus. After some effort, she managed to obtain permission to reproduce the photograph of the Shroud of Turin and authorization from the Curia in Milan to proceed with the medal in 1940. This became known as the Holy Face Medal.

On one side the medal bears a replica of the Holy Shroud of Turin and an inscription based on Psalm 66:2: "Illumina, Domine, vultum tuum super nos", i.e. "May, O Lord, the light of Thy countenance shine upon us". On the other side of the medal, there is an image of a radiant Sacred Host, the monogram of the Holy Name ("IHS"), and the inscription "Mane nobiscum, Domine" i.e. "Stay with us, O Lord".

In 1941 she wrote in her diary: "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." Sister Maria Pierina died July 26, 1945 in Centonara d’Artò, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Italy of natural causes. Her remains are located at the Holy Spirit Institute in Rome.

In April 2009 Pope Benedict XVI advanced her beatification process by formally recognizing a miracle attributed to her. She was beatified on Sunday, May 30, 2010 at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome by His Excellency, Archbishop Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in the Roman Curia.

Prayer of Mother Maria Pierina

O Blessed Face of my kind Savior, by the tender love and piercing sorrow of Our Lady as she beheld you in your cruel Passion,
grant us to share in this intense sorrow and love so as to fulfill the holy will of God to the utmost of our ability.