Room Of The Passion



A Meditation For Good Friday: Catholic writer Margaret Hebblethwaite and Jesuit priest Carlos de la Cruz reflect on the events of Jesus's passion as they describe the 18th century collection of Indian carvings in the Room of the Passion in Santa Maria de Fe, a former Jesuit Mission in Southern Paraguay. Catholic journalist and writer Margaret Hebblethwaite currently lives in Southern Paraguay, working with base Christian communities in Santa Maria, a rural village of some 3000 inhabitants. She has a sense of the sacredness of the place because of its long history of suffering, initially of the indigenous people at the hands of the colonisers, and more recently of the peasants at the hands of government during the oppressive military regime of President Stroessner. Santa Maria is the site of a Jesuit reduccion (mission) made famous by the Roland Joffe film 'The Mission'. The Room of the Passion is filled with extraordinarily moving statues of the Passion of Christ carved by the indigenous in the 18th century. Margaret talks with Carlos de la Cruz, a Jesuit who was parish priest in Santa Maria until five years ago and now works as a spiritual director. They reflect on the history of the reducciones, the Holy Week of Pain under the Stroessner dictatorship, and what happens today in this rural community as they recall Jesus's journey to his crucifixion.