Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

Veronica kneels before Jesus with her towel in an act of compassion that contrasts with the inhuman spectacle of a condemned man being paraded through the streets. This callousness was as familiar in medieval times as in Roman. Perhaps that’s the meaning of this Station: compassion conquers cruelty, for there is no biblical reference, the story being based on a popular medieval tradition of the face of Christ imprinted on a cloth. Note the two dimensional face of Christ portrayed so clearly on the woman’s towel. Some surmise that the image of Christ’s face on the folded Shroud of Turin may have been the origin of this tradition (along with another tradition of Jesus himself sending a cloth with the imprint of his face on it to the King of Edessa, who had sent for Jesus to come and heal him) but whatever the truth, the story gives the woman her name: Vero / true & ikon / image = Veronica. A younger guard appears, vine-cane at the ready, to hurry Jesus along. A large flower appears again under the heel of the Cross.

As we proceed we see houses to the right on land sold in year 2000 to help fund renovations to Monastery and Retreat House. Dominating the scene is the huge old eucalypt that is part of our national heritage, reported to be the oldest gum tree on the Adelaide plains, and like the one in front of the Monastery church, a Corroboree Tree for the Kaurna people. Beyond it is Frome Reserve with its usually dry Glen Osmond Creek, once part of a Monastery walk, but accessible now only from Birksgate Drive at the back of the Monastery, or from the pedestrian entrance on Cross Road, past the ancient gum.

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