A Lenten story: Stations of the Cross resurrected
By LISA M. REED
NIAGARA, Wis. – Maryhill Manor has acquired new Stations of the Cross, which show the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Nancy Reese, pastoral care director at Maryhill Manor in Niagara, Wis., said she was aware many residents with vision deficiencies could not see the old two white-lamented boards and 6-inch Stations of the Cross that used to be in the chapel at the Catholic nursing home.
She decided to remedy the situation and called the Diocese of Marquette last year to see if they had any unused stations from any of the church closings.
As it turns out, there was a set of Stations of the Cross from St. Mary’s Catholic Church in an area once known as Rapinville in Mackinac County. This church was open from 1907 to 1935.
Reese said there’s a possibility the Stations were put in Our Lady of Lourdes Mission Church in Egadine.
When a new Our Lady of Lourdes Mission Church was built in Engadine in 1964, the Stations were put in storage in Naubinway (12 miles from Engadine) and may have gotten damp and molded.
“The pictures themselves are gorgeous. The paint on the frames was peeling, and they were in disrepair,” said Reese upon receiving the framed pictures.
Reese said Activities Director Danielle Tachick at Maryhill Manor cleaned the pictures and Joe Stevens of Stevens Decorating in Iron Mountain helped restore them.
They are now displayed in the nursing home’s chapel.
“What I like about the Stations of the Cross is they are so are important to the Catholic faith, depicting what Christ went through the last hours of his life. You can imagine yourself being there,” Reese said.
Stevens believes the pictures are a print of an oil painting made in Italy around the turn of the century. He helped restore the Stations and put non-glare glass in all 14 frames.
The restoration will protect Christ’s Passion, the last hours of Jesus’s life, for another 100 years for many more residents and their families to enjoy.
“I am glad they are going to be on the wall. They are beautiful and I am happy to redo them,” said Stevens, a member of American Martyrs Church in Kingsford.
Reese then launched a fund drive to raise enough money through fund-raisers and donations to install track lighting for each picture. The lighting is expected to be installed in the near future, she said.
“My whole purpose was getting something residents could see,” she said.
Students from Holy Sprit School in Norway visited the chapel during Holy Week to see the Stations.
After the Stations of the Cross were put on the walls of the chapel, Fr. Matt Settle of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Niagara blessed them.
They inspire Reese.
After going through this journey with the Stations, Reese said she started to think about her own lenten journey and realized she felt old, dusty and kind of moldy in the spiritual sense.
“I have known for many years my lenten journey was not where it needed to be,” Reese said. “It felt flat, uninspiring and disconnected from God. The more I mediated on this the more I felt like my spiritual life was one dusty, moldy mess.”
“Mediating on these beautiful pictures reminded me again what and why he did what he did for us. I could see the love in his eyes as he hung on that cross while he gave his mother to us,” said Reese.
“All his suffering through the cross and still his perfect love for us all during his crucifixion to save us. As I look at the stations, I can hear the cries, see the pain and love in Christ’s eyes and smell the blood, but then the climax and the resurrection follows. Could it be I found my answer to my dusty, old spiritual life. I have been renewed.”
To view the stations and share the journey, visit the chapel at Maryhill Manor.
Lisa M. Reed’s e-mail address is email@example.com.