Augustinian Spirituality Featured in Stations of the Cross

Nuns Prepare Meditations and Illustrations for Colosseum Event

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 21, 2011 ( The meditations and accompanying illustrations prepared for Good Friday’s Stations of the Cross at the Roman Colosseum offer a “taste of Augustinian spirituality.”

The Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff published the English translation of the meditations and illustrations today on the Vatican Web site, which were prepared by two Augustinian nuns, Sister Maria Rita Piccione and Sister Elena Maria Manganelli. Benedict XVI will preside at the event.

Sister Maria Rita, the president of the Our Lady of Good Counsel Federation of Augustinian Monasteries in Italy, penned the meditations, while Sister Elena Maria, formerly a professional sculptress, created the illustrations that accompany the texts.

In an unsigned introduction written to present the meditations, the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff notes that the “interplay of word, form and color gives us a taste of Augustinian spirituality, inspired by the early community of Jerusalem and based on communion of life.”

“Each station is announced by its traditional title, followed by a short phrase, which offers a starting-point for meditation on that station,” the introduction explains. “We can imagine these words as spoken by a child, as a reminder of the simplicity of the little ones who see to the heart of things, and a sign of openness, in the Church’s prayer, to the voice of childhood, at times abused and exploited.”

The readings for each station are taken from John’s Gospel, “except for those stations which lack a corresponding text or where the text is found in other Gospels,” the introduction states. “This shows a desire to emphasize the message of glory proclaimed by the cross of Jesus.

The biblical text is then illustrated by a reflection, which is brief, clear and original.”

“Each station takes up a particular footprint left by Christ along the Way of the Cross, a footstep in which the believer is called to tread,” the text adds. “The steps which mark the Way of the Cross, then, are truth, honesty, humility, prayer, obedience, freedom, patience, conversion, perseverance, simplicity, kingship, self-giving, maternity, silent expectation.”

The liturgical office characterized the illustrations of Sister Elena Maria as “austere in form and color.”

“In offering this prayer of the Way of the Cross,” the introduction adds, “the Augustinian Nuns wish to render a homage of love to the Church and to the Holy Father, in full harmony with the particular devotion and fidelity to the Church and the Popes professed by the Augustinian Order.”

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