A wonderful article—sourced from the four volume Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich (the edition published by Angelico Press in 2016) is a must have for your Catholic library—from the Remnant Newspaper.
Introductory Note to the Editor: The real life of the woman called St. Veronica is virtually unknown. Some writers just guess about who she really was. But in the four volumes of Anne Catherine Emmerich’s Life of Jesus Christ, she is mentioned many times. Sometimes Anne Catherine calls her Seraphia, her real name, and sometimes Veronica, the woman of the veil. I have gathered from these four books tidbits of information about her life and wrote this little narrative about her. I felt her story of true dedication to Jesus all His life should be known. It was my hope that you would publish this article in The Remnant so others will know who this saintly person really was. She was, according to Anne Catherine Emmerich, the keeper of the Holy Grail until Christ requested it for the Last Supper. That is another story in itself. J. Meyer
HER NAME WAS SERAPHIA, TAKEN FROM THE SERAPHIM, the angels on fire with love. It suited her well. She was the niece of the old Temple prophet, Simeon. She was cousin of John the Baptist through his father Zachary. Yet she is known to the world only as Veronica, the woman of the veil.
She was tall and stately, a woman of about fifty, still showing the beauty she was once known for in her youth. She stood, waiting on the steps leading to her house, listening to the cursing, jeering, and yelling of the crowd as the slow pitiful procession approached.
Frightened, yet deep in sorrow, Seraphia waited, her veil wrapped about her head, holding the hand of her little adopted daughter. Then she saw Him coming, the One she knew was the Messiah, bloodied from the terrible scourging, a crown of sharp thorns upon His head, barely able to walk while carrying the cross of His crucifixion. How had it come to this? Only a few days ago people stood cheering Him on the roadway leading into Jerusalem, as Jesus entered the city on a donkey. They laid their coats and palm branches before Him crying, “Hosanna, Hosanna.”
She had been there. She had removed the long veil from her head and spread it out before Him as He rode by, giving her a loving, and knowing glance.
Now everything was turned upside down. The slow procession was just before her. Taking all the courage she could gather, Seraphia forced her way through the jeering crowd and ran in front of Jesus, causing the long line of boisterous soldiers carrying chains and whips, executioners, and Pharisees on horseback to halt. She knelt on one knee, quickly removed her veil, and handed it to Jesus.
“Master, wipe your face so that you may better see your way.”
Jesus gratefully took the scarf and wiped the blood, sweat, and spit from His face and eyes.
Stunned, then enraged, Caiaphas and the other Pharisees, already impatient with the slow pace, screamed, “Get that woman out of here! How dare she interfere and give homage to a criminal!”
One of the soldiers roughly pulled her away. Clutching her veil to her, she pushed through the crowd and rushed up the steps to her house. She flung the veil onto a table and collapsed onto the floor. A few minutes later a friend burst into the room, saw her and roused her, exclaiming “Seraphia, that was such a brave thing you did.”
Looking at the veil lying on the table her friend cried, “Look at your veil”. Looking at the veil, Seraphia saw the bloody imprint of the face of Jesus. She was filled with both grief and consolation. On her knees before the image she declared, “Now will I leave all, for the Lord has given me a memento.”
She held the veil to her heart and followed Mary, the mother of Jesus, Mary Klopas, her niece, Johanna, and the other holy women to the place of the crucifixion. After Joseph of Arimathea and the others had taken Jesus down from the cross, they all formed a small procession to the tomb where Jesus was laid.
In a few days, word of Seraphia’s miraculous veil spread all over the little community of the faithful. Everyone flocked to her to see and marvel at the wonderful cloth. Soon they were calling her Veronica, from veri icon, the “true image.” This remained her name ever after.