Things from Thing Stores

Eclectic accumulation via thrift store shopping

“The Holy Face” redux

The iconographer has been found!

Daniel Shultz of Not Of This World Icons has discovered the identity of the painter of “The Holy Face” icon:  Brother Joseph Brown.

Brother Joseph, OHC (Order of the Holy Cross), painted the icon on commission for the Holy Cross Monastery in New York, as a gift to comfort a  patron of theirs who was very ill. Brother Joseph did not know her personally but knows it brought her spiritual comfort, as it does for me. It was painted shortly after the monastery where he was living burned down.

Here’s what Brother Joesph emailed to me:


I hope you are having a beautiful Paschaltide season. I really do not know that much about the original patron. It was commissioned by the Order of the Holy Cross as a gift to her, so I am assuming it was one the Oblates or longtime supporters. I do remember that she spoke at length to me about the presence of the icon, and how much strength and deep peace it brought her.

It was painted right after the monastery burnt down. I believe it was the first one that I did following the fire. It was a time of very deep surrender for myself, and I am sure that was reflected in the prayers said during its painting.

I wish I had anymore tidbits of information for you, but alas…

I am delighted that the icon has found a new home, and may the blessing of the Holy Face shine upon you and yours.


Br. Joseph


The semester is winding to a close, and for my final homework assignment, I wanted to feature “The Holy Face” icon again, because it is the most important and meaningful item I’ve ever found at a thrift store – or, possibly, anywhere.

[My gratitude to Daniel Shultz, Ann Margitich, and SRJC instructor Donald Laird for their generosity in sharing their knowledge with me, and with deepest appreciation to Brother Joseph for his faithful artistry.]


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