Kindness to a Suffering Stranger

During this month, you are invited to continue spending a little time reflecting on the Stations of the Cross. During July, we focus on the Sixth Station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

Reflect on the cross in your life: how you have turned to others for support in your times of sadness or difficulty, and how others have turned to you, and ‘leaned’ on you in their hour of need.

A suggestion:

  • First: reflect upon what is happening to Jesus in this sixth Station
  • Next: ponder the Moments in the life of Mary MacKillop
  • Finally: reflect upon how this links with your own life

And there followed him a great multitude of the people.

Luke 23:27

There is no mention of Veronica in the Gospels but tradition places into this story, Veronica, who wipes the face of Jesus. Here at last in a simple, yet profound gesture is true compassion in the face of suffering.  Something wells up deep within her bringing courage and a sense of purpose. Veronica moves forward, placing herself under the glare of the crowd and Roman soldiers, in order to bring a simple moment of kindness to a suffering stranger.

God’s love is too deep for words to express.

Mary MacKillop 6.8.1870

Moments in the life of Mary MacKillop…

Mary MacKillop understood the power of simple, loving actions.  She was aware that an individual could experience the love of God in this way.  Mary was particularly aware of the poor in her midst and gave them first priority.  One day after having driven a long distance in a snow storm Mary, on reaching her destination, went straight to the local Josephite school.  A small boy wearing ragged clothes took her eye.  Mary went straight to him, put her arms around him and hugged him saying, “Ah Sister, these are the children I love.”


Moments in my life …

  • How do I reveal God’s compassion to others in small simple ways?
  • Who might I avoid in this regard?

Take a moment to reflect in silence upon these aspects of your life.

Recall those times when you might have avoided giving a kind word or a simple hug to another.

Consider how such actions can be a source of encouragement and healing.


Jesus, in the simple, kind gesture of Veronica you experience the love of God.  Help me to recognize and respond to others in need, to be willing to enter into their pain.  Grant me the grace to overcome my own fears and prejudices, to learn to see through your compassionate eyes.  Remind me daily that I am called to be an instrument of your love.

Forgive those times when I stand at a distance, unwilling to be involved in the lives of others.  Draw me deeper into your heart so that strengthened by your love, my love can grow.


Download the print version of this reflection: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus (PDF)

Stations of the Cross: A Journey with St Mary of the Cross MacKillop – Valerie DeBrenni

© Trustees Sisters of Saint Joseph, 2012

Available for purchase @ $7.95 from Mary MacKillop Place Bookshop, Mount Street, North Sydney, or online.


Station 6, Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel, North Sydney
“Nothing could come between her and a child in need.”  John Maitland 1994; Used with permission