Blair Barlow Piras painted "St. Thérèse of the Holy Face" as a commission from Word on Fire Institute member Natalie Wood, who then donated the piece to Bishop Barron and the Word on Fire Institute. Blair explains the symbolism and imagery in her artwork:
"This piece of St. Thérèse of Lisieux aims to honor the saint as patron of missionary work and specifically her role as patron of Word on Fire ministry. St. Thérèse holds a veil bearing an image of the Holy Face of Jesus, which she had a great devotion to. The artist wanted to draw the connection of Word on Fire’s evangelization using images and media and the traditions of the veil of Veronica in the West, and the Mandylion of King Abgar in the East, which according to tradition were the first images Jesus left of himself. The veil is trimmed with a delicate lace to reference the embroidery and lace work Thérèse loved to do. In the background we see a pattern which further illustrates the mission of Word on Fire and St. Thérèse’s intercessory work from Heaven. We see the rose window of Notre Dame creating a frame around the saint. Bishop Robert Barron speaks of the magnificent beauty of this great architectural treasure, and explains how it embodies the elements of beauty which St. Thomas of Aquinas identifies: integritas, consonantia, and claritas. This is a symbol of the Word on Fire’s evangelization through beauty. The shape of the gold leaf portion also honors her title as 'the little flower.' The peacocks are a symbol of eternal life and are meant to demonstrate St.Thérèse promise to, '…send down a shower of roses from the heavens; I will spend my heaven doing good upon earth.' Bishop Barron also drew the connection to Flannery O’Connor who exclaimed they reminded her of the glory of heaven. This piece represents St. Thérèse’s aid to all at Word of Fire to spread the good news and present Jesus to the world. May the work they do lead others to Heaven, where with St. Thérèse and the communion of saints, we can adore the face of God forever."
Art is affixed to a thick protective acrylic block giving a three dimensional appearance. A french cleat is attached to the back for easy hanging. Care instructions: Wipe clean with a damp cloth.