Jerusalem was a long way away. It took months for a healthy, lucky pilgrim to reach its walls and reverently follow the Stations of the Cross. And healthy, lucky pilgrims were comparatively few.
St. Leonard of Port Maurice mused over this, casting his mind’s eye over the miles and miles of land and sea between Italy—where he lived—and Jerusalem. How he wished that he and all Catholics might venerate the Stations! Not in a distant, unfamiliar fashion, but with a devotion that was very vibrant and close to their hearts—and close to their homes.
Well, there was only one thing to be done. And Leonard did it.
The saintly Franciscan was a missionary, as were most Franciscans. From 1708 until his death forty-three years later, he traveled Italy, preaching. Everywhere he went, Leonard promoted special devotion to the Stations of the Cross. Many of his fellow Franciscans assisted him in this work.
That is not all he did, however.
As he traveled, Leonard built replicas of the Stations so that Catholics could follow Our Lord’s path to Golgotha with concrete steps and depictions.
Leonard erected 572 Stations of the Cross throughout Italy. The most famous of these are the Stations in the Colosseum, where the Vatican’s Good Friday service has been held for nearly 300 years.
You can carry on in your own home the work which St. Leonard and his Franciscan brothers began in the world. Cultivate your children’s devotion to the Stations of the Cross with our Stations of the Cross Cards and Easel Set. Featuring a sketch and a meditation for each Station, this set will guide the whole family through a prayerful contemplation of Our Lord’s Passion. We’ve put it on sale for you this Lent. Available today only at The Catholic Company!