Sacred Garden, Adelaide

At the Monastery, Glen Osmond

Today is Good Friday, the day Catholics traditionally pray the Stations of the Cross. (The events leading up to Jesus' death) Adelaide has a garden with marble sculptures of the Stations, even for those who aren't religious it's quite lovely to visit.

The sculptures are made from Carrara Marble and they were commissioned by the Passionist Priests in the early 1950s. They're considered significant works of art and are from Ferdinando Palla Studio in Pietrasanta, Tuscany. Each Station is carved from one block of marble and they weigh about a ton. It took several years for them to be shipped out to Australia, as each one took about 8 months to sculpt. The Stations were commissioned from the Passionists' novitiate (training college for would be priests) in Goulburn is country New South Wales.

When the Passionists sold the property in 1974, they Stations were packed and moved to the Sisters of Mercy novitiate (this one's a training college for nuns), still in Goulburn, until that too was closed in 2000.

Plans were then made to bring the sculptures to Adelaide and establish the Sacred Garden at the Passionist Monastery. New plinths were made for the sculptures and historic walls and pathways restored. It's now a lovely peaceful and reflective garden, open every day.

The first Station as you enter the garden, each Station was designed as a tableau of 3 or 4 figures.

Jesus falls.

The garden area was already part of The Monastery, so there were established trees there already, such as this huge Morton Bay Fig.

Simon carries the cross.

A heritage path of cobblestones with olive trees either side, dropping olives onto the path. At both sides of the path there is a warning sign that the surface is very uneven, take care and walk on it at your own risk. (A bit sad I thought that it was necessary to have such a sign in a reflective garden, but probably just an indication of the times we live in.)

Jesus' body is carried from the cross.

The Way of the Cross (the Stations) date back to the 5th century and become widespread in the 12th and 13th centuries. As churches had no seating, it was a way of congregations connecting with the story of Jesus' death. Catholic churches have the stations on their walls depicted as paintings, or pictures, or 3D type pictures with the Stations numbered in Roman Numerals. Good Friday is when Catholics traditionally pray at each station as they walk the path that led to Jesus' crucifixion. 

The Sacred Garden is another way that people can pray at the Stations, and today there will be groups of people praying at each station.

The sculptures are listed with the National Trust and The Monastery has a very helpful website where I got all the historic information about them.