- Deseret News - Monday, March 14, 2016

Holy Week is around the corner. And, as Chaucer would say, “folks are longing to make a pilgrimage.”

So let me suggest one.

If you’re anywhere near Southern Colorado, visit San Luis, the oldest town in the state. You’ll find trappings of the modern world there — a trendy cafe, a tasteful shop or two. But for the most part it’s a sleepy town, much like early Taos, New Mexico.

San Luis is also gaining interest as the site of a popular Christian shrine: The Stations of the Cross on Piety and Mercy Hill.

Fashioned by local artist Huberto Maestas, the stations brim with drama and pathos. It’s hard to fathom another work that could add more passion to the Passion of Christ.

I stopped by San Luis not long ago and made the trek up the hill to the small church at the top. And every 50 yards or so, I stopped to contemplate the sculptures of Maestas.

The Stations of the Cross themselves have been around for centuries. They represent 14 “pauses” by Jesus Christ as he went from the court of Pilate to the cross on Calvary. Some stops can be found in scripture while others are taken from Christian tradition.

Paintings of the stations are often hung along the inside walls of churches. In some cathedrals, they appear in the stained glass windows. At the refurbished Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City, the Stations of the Cross created a stir because they depict a beardless Jesus. In Wendover, Nevada, the stations stand on a small knoll just outside the church itself.

I’ve seen dozens of versions of the stations, some done in wood, some in ceramics and tapestry. There’s even a “super hero” version of them in Las Vegas.

But I’ve never seen any depiction more powerful than the Stations of the Cross in San Luis. Each bronze statue stands about 4 feet tall. And the humanity of the souls displayed is riveting, from the unspeakable sorrow in the faces of the women of Jerusalem to the callous violence in the arm of the soldier pounding home the nails.

I stayed among the statues for an hour or two. I left feeling drained of emotion, but filled with gratitude.

I hope people continue to discover the site and visit it.

In troubling times, any homage to the spirit should be nurtured.

Every shrine is welcome.

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