In a gritty alley painted with gang symbols, Spokane victims of physical and sexual abuse enacted two portions of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion Friday afternoon.
The event, sponsored by an ecumenical group called the Lenten Friday Remembrance Guild, was part of an ongoing series of Stations of the Cross observances throughout Lent.
As cars roared by, and the smell of cigarettes and McDonald’s hamburgers wafted through the alley, participants from the Women’s Drop In Center, 218 S. Howard, spoke of their suffering and vulnerability.
One woman, 39-year-old Trish Clayton, expressed her pride and sorrow as a recovering drug addict and the mother of a 17-year-old winner of the Chase Youth Award for courage.
Clayton, who has seven children, said, “My children haven’t seen their mother in three years because my family thinks I’m a bad person.”
She clutched a copy of The Spokesman-Review, which ran the picture of her daughter, Renae Arnold, on the front page, and tears came to her eyes.
“I stand vulnerable on a cross I have nailed myself on, praying to God for the courage to burn the damn thing and live,” she said.
The observance, according to Sister Cathy Beckley, the center’s director, was designed to help people look into the eyes of women who suffer and see Christ within them. These women stood for the millions who are victimized by physical and sexual abuse.
The Stations of the Cross is a Roman Catholic tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages. It re-creates the trial, suffering and crucifixion of Christ.
On Friday afternoon, Marie Elpert, an artist and childabuse survivor, was led up cement steps to a brick doorway, where she stretched out her arms and hung her hands from two nails.
Approximately 60 participants stood in the alley, praying, “Deliver us from evil, O God, in the world and in ourselves.”
Next Friday, the 12th, 13th and 14th stations will be observed at the vacant lot across from St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church on First and Lee. The event will begin at 4 p.m.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: NEXT WEEK Next Friday, the 12th, 13th and 14th stations will be observed at the vacant lot across from St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church on First and Lee. The event will begin at 4 p.m. On April 5, which is Good Friday, all 14 stations will be presented in Riverfront Park, beginning at 2:45 p.m.