These nails were produced many years ago by the
monks at the
Basilica of the Holy Cross in Rome.
These reproductions are said to have been touched
to an authentic nail from Our Lord's Passion that is
held at the Basilica.
The "Veil of Veronica" or "Holy Face", preserved in Rome since the time of
Emperor Tiberius (1st Century) and venerated since the 8th Century in St.
Peter's Basilica. According to the legend, Veronica was a pious woman from
Jerusalem who encountered Christ on His way to Calvary and, full of
compassion, used her veil to clean His face from sweat and blood. When she
took it back, His Most Holy Face appeared miraculously on the cloth! Next
to the Turin Shroud, the "Veronica" is another image of Christ "not
created by human hands", inspiring Christian iconography until today.
Veronica's encounter became a regular station on the Way of the Cross, and
even today, once a year, pilgrims receive a blessing with the most holy
relic in St. Peter's on Passion Sunday. It is kept in a special chapel in
one of the four main pillars of St. Peter. In the 19th century, the
veneration of the Holy Face was propagated by St. Pope Pius IX and, among
others, St. Therese de Lisieux, who took the name "Theresia of the Infant
Jesus and the Holy Face". This was caused by a miracle. During the
revolution of 1849, when the Pope had to flee to Gaeto, St. Pius IX
ordered the Holy Veil to be publicly exposed between the feasts of
Christmas and Epiphany. On the 3rd day of the exposition, the face of Our
Lord on the cloth became clearly visible and appeared to be alive,
surrounded by a soft light. The Canons of St. Peter immediately rung the
bells, and crowds of people came to watch the 3 hours long manifestation.
One of the canons was ordered to draw the face as it appears during the
miracle and the Pope later ordered an improved version of this drawing to
be printed on linen cloths, which, after being touched to the original
relic (and therefore becoming 3rd class relics) were distributed among the
faithful. This custom was continued for over 50 years.
The framed cloth relic of this ministry was produced during the pontificate of Pope Leo XIII
and has an authentication document from the St. Peter's Basilica in Rome dated 1886.