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Salesian Corner - Holy Week

A message from the Salesian Studies Office:

The celebration of Palm Sunday marked the beginning of Holy Week. What began with rejoicing as Jesus entered Jerusalem, becomes Christ’s surrender as we approach the Triduum, our eyes toward the Cross.

In the Gospel readings, the disciples found it difficult to accept Jesus’ prediction of his own suffering and crucifixion. Instinctively, most people wish to avoid pain of any kind. We can make sense out of pain only by joining our suffering to that of Jesus.  Jesus, by his passion and death, made suffering redemptive. When we take up our cross and accept it, in the spirit of pleasing and out of our love for God, our own surrendering and suffering can be redemptive.

Saint Francis de Sales calls the daily annoyances of any kind our crosses of straw, describing the carrying of them as more virtuous than a heavier cross to bear: 

“The merit of the cross does not consist in its heaviness, but in the manner in which we carry it. I would even say that it is sometimes more virtuous to carry a cross of straw than a heavy cross because we have to be more attentive for fear of losing it.” 

We no doubt encounter straw crosses, and our own suffering as we give of ourselves to others out of love and faithfulness to Christ and our neighbor.

In a letter to Saint Jane de Chantal, Francis refers to our heavier crosses as, “...those we struggle against the most in the depths of our heart.”  By humbling ourselves to,  “...accept the crosses gladly which are laid on you,”  we unite our suffering with Christ’s at the foot of his Cross.

During the Lenten season, Visitation students were given the opportunity to participate in Stations of the Cross. These prayerful assemblies were a time to reflect on Jesus’ Passion and Crucifixion as a community, to come together and pray for those who carry the heavy crosses, as well as the crosses of straw, to unite with Christ’s suffering, and renew the call to Live Jesus. 

May God’s love during the Triduum, bring us all hope and the redemptive promise of Easter joy.


Oeuvres de Saint Francois de Sales, translated by Fr. Alexander Pocetto, OSFS; 9:19
Letters of Spiritual Direction, Francis de Sales, Jane de Chantal

Photos Courtesy Mendota Heights Visitation Archives, Stations of the Cross, 
Artist: Mary Kay Volk ‘64