By Lydia O'Kane
On Good Friday Pope Francis will travel to Rome’s Colosseum for the Way of the Cross or Via Crucis. These stations at the Roman landmark date back to Pope Benedict XIV and were revived by Pope Paul VI during his pontificate.
This year the Pope has entrusted the meditations to Consolata Missionary and President of the Association "Slaves no more", Sr Eugenia Bonetti. The 14 stations will highlight the victims of human trafficking, drawing from her own experience in Africa of fighting this scourge.
Speaking ahead of the Way of the Cross, Sr Bonetti spoke of her surprise at being asked by Pope Francis to write this year’s meditations.
“I would never, never, never have imagined in the whole of my life that this could happen to a missionary; a missionary of the street and that the Pope has decided to ask, to make the Way of the Cross, focusing on human trafficking.”
She commented, that these meditations are meant show in a very simple way “what it means to be a Samaritan today”. “Christ is still dying today, the women are still trying to wipe (the face of Christ) today.”
The courage of Veronica
The Italian sister said that the station she loves the most is that of Veronica wiping the face of Christ.
“This woman that had the courage to meet him and to wipe the sweat and the tears that was on his face. That is what (Jesus) is asking from each one of us.”
Helping people dream again
The missionary nun said that when she sees young women in danger she has to help them “regain their youth, their life, their future,” to help them to dream again of a better life.
Sr Bonetti pointed out, that Christians have a greater responsibility because Christ has taught that “nobody is created to be a slave, but we have been born to be human beings made in the likeness and in the image of God.”
She stressed that we need to change this mentality of a throwaway society.
It’s amazing she said, “how much we are destroying, not only what we use in the common life, but now we do the same with people."
Crime against humanity
The Consolata Missionary, noted that the dignity of the human person and “the beauty of creation” was not being respected.
She also said the failure to protect the human person was a “crime against humanity”.
Sr Bonetti emphasized that when you see human trafficking and slavery, “you want to break this chain”.
Every ring on that chain, she explained, has a name, be it the traffickers, poverty, ignorance. “We should be able to break all of them”(rings) so that the person can be free.