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All Good Things
March 11, 2024

The Way of the Cross

One of the traditional prayers for LENT is the Way of the Cross which commemorate Jesus's passion and death. Those 14 (or 15) stations each depict a moment on his journey to Calvary. The practice began as pious pilgrims traced Jesus’ path through Jerusalem on the Via Dolorosa. Later, for the many pilgrims who wanted to travel along the same route, but could not make the trip to Jerusalem, a practice developed that eventually took an art form of stations currently found in almost every Catholic church throughout the world.

Even now every Friday a procession makes its way along the Via Dolorosa, the path that Jesus walked through Jerusalem while carrying his cross from Pontius Pilate's palace to his crucifixion on Mount Calvary, also called Golgotha. Led by Franciscan friars, the procession follows this Catholic tradition but is open to people of all Christian denominations. Since March is Women's History Month, I have begun to walk one station reflection each day through the eyes of his Mother Mary. I am trying to closely observe the pain of Jesus as well as through his mother’s eyes watching her son.

So much Mary can teach me in her perseverance walking the whole way up the hill, her bearing the falls, the whips, the stripping, and just the anguish of not being able to help like Simon or Veronica. It is teaching me to persevere or be more patient when I or others fall/fail a second or third time, to offer just a kind word or wipe a brow to someone overworked, even step up and offer to assist someone carrying a heavy load. Each day I try to put into practice what happens to Jesus and how his mother may have wanted to help for in the words of our sister, Clare, I “desire to imitate” (2LAg 20).

Mary Elizabeth Imler, O.S.F.
Vice President for Mission Integration
University of St. Francis - Joliet

13th Station

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