Theresa Doyle-Nelson is a freelance writer from the Texas Hill Country. While her background is in education, with seven years as a teacher and substitute principal, Theresa found writing to be a stronger calling. Theresa grew up outside of the Rochester, New York, area and attended St. Bonaventure University, where her grandfather, uncle, cousin, Godson and nephew are also alumni. After graduating from St. Bonaventure in 1981, Theresa moved to Brownsville, Texas, to teach elementary school, then to San Antonio to teach first grade. While in San Antonio, Theresa had a chance meeting which re-introduced her to an acquaintance from St. Bonaventure, Chad Nelson. The two married within a year, and enjoyed traveling around as a U.S. Marine Corps family. During a three-year stay in Naples, Italy in the mid-90s, Theresa took a correspondence writing course, and has been writing for various Catholic resources ever since. Theresa and Chad have three sons, two daughters-in-law, a future daughter-in-law and five grandchildren. Theresa is also the author of Saints in Scripture.. You can find her online at TheresaDoyle-Nelson.blogspot.com.
A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. ―Luke 23:27
The name Veronica actually never appears in Scripture, nor is this Veronica included in the Roman Martyrology. However, Luke’s Gospel shares that many women grieved for Jesus as he carried his cross to Golgotha, and it is claimed that one of these women had a piece of cloth with her and used it to clean the distressed face of the suffering Christ. In Catholic churches around the world, this belief can be found within the Sixth Station of the Cross—one of a series of depictions outlining the Passion of Jesus.
The name Veronica is derived from the Latin vera (true) and icon (image) and was likely given to this woman due to the credence that as she tried to absorb the sweat, dirt, and blood from the face of Jesus, a miraculous image of his face was left on the fabric. St. Veronica's cloth bearing the imprint of Jesus' face is claimed to be in a variety of places, including St. Peter's in Rome and a monastery in Manoppello, Italy.
Some have also claimed that Veronica is the same as the biblical woman who suffered from 12 years of hemorrhages. This story can be found in three of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke, tucked within the story of Jesus going to raise Jairus’s daughter from the dead. It shares an account of a timid yet believing woman who had suffered for many years; she saw Jesus in a crowd and discreetly reached out to touch the hem of His cloak, hoping for relief. Jesus felt some power leave him and so asked who had touched his cloak. The reticent woman (Veronica?) admitted that it had been she. Jesus was impressed with her faith, and she was healed.
While these traditions and assertions cannot be proven, we do know that a bleeding woman displayed great faith in the Lord and was healed. And we know that there were pious women present along the Via Dolorosa, mournful over Christ’s agony. We don’t know the names of any of them with certainty; however, they all had the reflection―or true image―of Jesus in their hearts, and so the name of Veronica could symbolize at least one if not several of these holy women.
Pondering St. Veronica through Scripture
St. Veronica is honored on July 12. She could be a perfect saint to turn to for caregivers, face wounds, or hemorrhaging problems. The verses below might help to contemplate the life of St. Veronica and offer inspiration to become like a Veronica to someone in your life.
- Matthew 9:20–22
- Mark 5:25–34
- Luke 8:43–48
- Luke 23:27