My meditation on St. Veronica has been ongoing for years now. This Lent, as I sat in the church of St. Veronica praying the Stations of the Cross—alone, because of the coronavirus pandemic—I found myself lingering at her station. I looked up at the Station depiction of this woman wiping Jesus’ bloody, bruised and distorted but beautiful face. That one act of kindness took less than fifteen seconds, I’m sure, and Veronica probably did not notice the miraculous imprint of His visage until hours later when she went to wash the veil. When she discovered the miracle of the imprint, she must have told a few faithful, and the story spread and became part of oral tradition.
After much prayer and meditation and accepting that there was a woman who wiped Jesus’ face and received the gift of His image on her veil, I realized that it didn’t really matter much what her real name was. It’s like arguing over whether Jesus was really born on December 25th. What does it matter? That is the date we chose to celebrate, and Veronica is the name we gave to this anonymous woman. What matters is her act of kindness to the Lord and the example she gives to us to do the same for Jesus in our suffering brothers and sisters.
Did St. Veronica Really Exist?