.- A nearly 400-year-old copy of the Shroud of Turin is now on display for public veneration at a New Jersey monastery in hopes of inspiring more reflection on Jesus Christ’s Crucifixion.
The copy of the reputed burial shroud of Jesus Christ, known as the True Copy, is in the possession of the Dominican nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary in Summit, N.J.
Sr. Mary Catharine Perry, O.P., the monastery’s novice mistress, said the nuns hope that the replica will lead people to “a greater devotion to the Passion and Death of Jesus” so that they will have a greater love and reverence for the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, who is exposed in the monstrance everyday in the monastery chapel.
“When people hear that we have a copy of the Shroud in our possession and its history their response is really amazing and they want to see it. We would invite individuals and small groups to see it and their response was always one of prayerful wonder,” she told CNA on Oct. 14.
Sr. Perry said that when her parents visited, her father would always request some time to sit before the relic and meditate and reflect on the Passion.
The True Copy shows a faded image of a man with a wound in his side. It is displayed within an ornate mahogany and brass frame seven feet by three feet in dimensions.
The replica was commissioned in April 1624 by Maria Maddalena of Austria, the Grand Duchess of Tuscany and the wife of Cosimo de Medici.
The replica is treasured and venerated because of a mysterious occurrence when it came into contact with the original shroud, especially the wound on Christ’s side.
When the replica was removed from the shroud, the wound had become damp as though with blood. This effusion stained the copy.
In 1987, scientists from the Association of Scientists and Scholars International for the Shroud of Turin affirmed that the stain was from human blood of the same blood type as that on the shroud.
Duchess Maria Magdalena gave the shroud copy to the nuns of St. Catherine’s Monastery in Rome. They venerated the replica for nearly 300 years. The Rome nuns gave it to the New Jersey nuns on April 6, 1924 in gratitude for their generous help after World War I.
Sr. Perry said the nuns often spoke of their desire to place the True Copy in their public chapel, but it did not seem to fit.
They then realized that by moving some pews they could place it where it wouldn’t block a view of the sanctuary and the exposed Blessed Sacrament.
Until 1987, the True Copy was kept in a special custom-made case in the monastery’s chapter hall. Its fabric was stored on two rollers and only a small part could be displayed at a time.
But then the nuns learned from scientists said that because of its age the replica should be kept flat and not rolled.
Sr. Perry praised the workmen who helped with the change.
“The spot we picked was perfect! It just seems that means the decision to move the True Copy to our chapel is in God's time, too!” she said.
The website of the Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary is at http://www.monialesop.org.