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Stations of the Cross find their way to Adelaide


A unique set of metal sculptures forming the Way of the Cross, commissioned more than 60 years ago by a small rural Catholic community in South Australia, has found a new home hundreds of kilometres away in North Adelaide.

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While that new home, Aquinas College, might be located in the city, it has strong connections to regional SA as Adelaide’s only Catholic university residential college.

When St Martin de Porres Church in Lock on the Eyre Peninsula was decommissioned last year, the question arose as to what should be done with the 18 Stations of the Cross that adorned its walls. Original in their concept and design, they were crafted by acclaimed surrealist artist, the late Voitre Marek.

Parish priest of Cummins, Fr Kevin Matthews, approached the rector of Aquinas College, Br Michael Green FMS, to canvass the possibility of the artwork being acquired by Aquinas.

Br Michael said while he was attracted to the proposal, he wanted to be assured that the local parish community was comfortable with it, which they were.

With the help of some students, and “some generous benefaction” from an old collegian, the move was arranged.

Br Michael said he believed it was the responsibility of the Church’s institutions, especially those involved in education, to be patrons of religious art and of art more generally.

“We are involved in the education of the hearts and minds of young people,” he said.

“In addition to all the facilities and services we might provide, our campuses should be beautiful, humane and soulful places.”

Aquinas has long history with art, going back to the time of its second rector, Fr Michael Scott SJ, who co-founded Australia’s leading competition for religious art, the Blake Prize. The college already has two other works of Voitre Marek from Fr Scott’s time – a sculpture called Emmaus and a crucifix, both of which are in the college Chapel and last year were loaned to the Art Gallery of South Australia for a special exhibition.

These artworks have been joined by what are now called the ‘Lock Stations’.

“Unlike a traditional Way of the Cross,” said Br Michael, “Marek’s work comprises 18 scriptural images, beginning with Adam and Eve in Genesis, and moving through to the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, in the Acts of the Apostles.

“It is a kind of visual salvation history.”

The stations have been installed in the stairwell of the MacKillop Building at the college. They were blessed in their new home by Adelaide Archbishop Patrick O’Regan when he attended the Collegiate Dinner and Academic Awards evening on February 26.

Br Michael said although the Lock Stations have been entrusted to the stewardship of Aquinas College, they belonged to the whole Catholic community and he would welcome people coming to view them and to pray with them. A pamphlet has been prepared to assist in this.

Aquinas College, which was established in 1950 by the Catholic bishops of Adelaide and Port Pirie, has approximately 200 students living there today.


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