Devotion of the Stations of the Cross goes back to the time when early pilgrims visited the holy sites in Jerusalem.
During these pilgrimages travellers called to mind the last moments in the life of Jesus by praying at the sites associated with Jesus' suffering and death.
This practice was so moving that many Christians who were unable to travel to the Holy Land desired to do the same thing, and so Stations of the Cross were set up in churches.
During the Stations of the Cross we follow Jesus Christ in his passion and see ourselves reflected in him. To face life's dark side in ourselves and in our world, we need images of hope, and Jesus offers such hope in his journey to the cross and in his resurrection from the dead. By accompanying him on the Way of the Cross, we touch into the pain, desolation and courage of Jesus and learn to place our trust in God who in Jesus transforms death into new life.
As we follow Jesus on his journey, we begin to see in the sufferings of Jesus our own struggles mirrored in his. Each of us in our own way experiences the pain of the human condition: sickness reminds us of the vulnerability of our bodies, relationships break down, friends betray us, we stand by helplessly as those whom we love, suffer.
As we look at the life of Mary MacKillop we see a woman who perseveres in the journey of faith despite the suffering that she endures. There are times when Mary comes close to despair. She is no stranger to suffering.
In her life she experiences hardship and poverty, the death of loved ones, sickness, the breakdown of a close friendship and unjust criticism; yet through it all, she places her trust in God. Mary finds strength and meaning in the cross of Jesus.
Like Jesus she finds the courage to enter into suffering rather than to run away from it. She is known as 'St Mary of the Cross MacKillop'.
As you take this journey you are invited to ...
... first reflect at each Station upon what is happening to Jesus ... then explore suggested links to the life of Mary MacKillop ... make links between each Station and your own life ... reflect and pray
Many thanks to Valerie De Brenni for permission to use, Stations of the Cross A Journey with St Mary of the Cross MacKillop.
Thank you to the following members of our Diocesan community for their participation.