The Stations of the Cross are a traditional observance for Lent, consisting of artist's images of Christ's Passion journey from the Garden of Gethsemene through the crucifixion. It is a common contemplative observation for Good Friday. Many Roman Catholic Churches have these Stations permanently installed somewhere within the building or grounds. Modern artists have also taken on this subject matter, sometimes in an abstract form. A more contemporary tradition has involved walking around a city or town on Good Friday and praying each of the stations in public areas. I decided to combine abstract art and stations of the cross in my own city, Torrington Connecticut.
Torrington used to be an industrial stronghold, but it fell on hard times when most of the industrial jobs moved out of New England. The town is trying hard to make a comeback, in part by emphasizing the arts. The downtown is vibrant, with shops, bars, restaurants, art and entertainment venues. However, everywhere are little signs that the town still struggles. Sometimes, when I hear about a crime or tragedy in town, I walk to that place and pray in front of the address where it occurred. When I walk my dog around the downtown area I often see discarded liquor bottles and other bits of trash, like broken glass or metal bits. I started incorporating some of these discarded pieces into jewelry making. These pieces are composed of repurposed trash and some craft supplies I had on hand. I incorporated a functional necklace in each piece, and placed them around town to form a contemplative path. The path was installed on Maundy Thursday, just before sunset. This Stations of the Cross is a pretty natural progression from my current artistic and prayer life. I hope it will inspire others the way it has inspired me.
I created a map in Google Maps. The map is printable and lists the traditional scriptural name of the station as well as the address and local landmark. It provides everything you need to visit the stations in order. (Beneath the video version I have included some helpful hints for finding the artwork...if it has not been removed yet.
This is the video version, with musical accompaniment. It is a great meditation tool and lasts 3 minutes, 22 seconds.
1. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane: Coe Park Coe Park is the meticulously landscaped former grounds of the Coe family mansion. I often allow the homeless folks there to pet my dog. The station was placed under an evergreen near the entrance to the Bank of America.
2. Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested: Staples Plaza. I see drug dealers openly transacting business there. The station was placed under a tree near the sidewalk beside the bridge over the Naugatuck River.
3. Jesus is condemned by the Sanhedrin: Cumberland Farms, South Main Street. A young woman who worked there was murdered last year. The station is behind the building.
4. Jesus is denied by Peter: Corner of East Albert Street and Oak Avenue. A man on a bicycle was struck and killed by a vehicle recently. I added my station to the memorial already there.
5. Jesus is judged by Pilate. Franklin Street Bridge. The station was placed in a corner of the bridge and fence on the Eversource side. There is a homeless encampment under the bridge, often in quite frigid weather.
6. Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns. Sons of Italy Hall. The corrupt former tax collector in town seized the building for non-payment of taxes and auctioned it off. A kindly neighbor bought it and sold it back to them. The station was placed near a tree in the parking lot area.
7. Jesus takes up his cross. 41 East Main, Alternative Incarceration Center. This organization conducts drug testing that enables people on parole and probation to stay out of jail. The station was placed in a corner off the sidewalk entrance.
8. Jesus is helped by Simon of Cyrene to carry his cross. Trinity Church, home of the local soup kitchen. The station was placed beside the church sign on Prospect.
9. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem. Susan B. Anthony Women’s Shelter offices. The station was placed near the sign on Water Street.
10. Jesus is crucified. Palmer Rooms. A young man fell to his death from the window a few years ago in an incident that was likely related to alcohol and drug use. Station placed in corner on John Street side.
11. Jesus promises his kingdom to the repentant thief. YMCA Parking lot. The Y provides affordable housing for the indigent. Station placed next to a meter in the corner near John Street.
12. Jesus entrusts Mary and John to each other. Center Church. The church hosts a community dinner twice a month. Station was placed in a garden bed near the left front entrance.
13. Jesus dies on the cross. St. Francis Church. St. Francis is part of the local Roman Catholic Parish. Station was placed under a tree beside the parking lot in the back, on the City Hall side.
14. Jesus is laid in the tomb. Center Cemetery. Station was placed beneath a tree near the City Hall parking lot entrance.