Stations of the Cross Exhibit Donated to CMU
|Betty Dimock with Jesus Condemned, one of the Stations of the
Cross exhibit that the Winnipeg artist donated to CMU.
Many Protestants are unfamiliar with the Stations of the
Cross, a Christian tradition that goes back to the early days of the church. But
now students and visitors at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) can learn more
about this long-time practice of Christian piety as they view and reflect on an
artistic rendering of Christ’s final journey by Winnipeg artist Betty Dimock.
The display, called The Hand: Jesus’ Way to the Cross,
is a series of 14 prints that illustrate Christ’s journey to the cross through
the hands of his accusers, those who helped him along the way, and of Jesus
himself. It was dedicated September 12 at the university.
Dimock, a printmaker who has studied at the Pratt Institute in New York, the
Sorbonne in Paris and also in Italy and Japan, created the display in 1983. She
began looking for a permanent home for the exhibit last year; she selected CMU
because it would be a way to share the work with young people who could learn
from and be inspired by it.
At the dedication service, Gerry Ediger, Associate Professor of Christian
History, noted that the practice of symbolically retracing Christ’s journey to
Calvary goes back to the Middle Ages, when reproductions of his final steps
began to appear in Europe.
“Many lay Christians wanted to identify with the passion and suffering of
Christ by going on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, but were prevented from doing
so,” he said, referring to the inability of poorer Christians to make the trip,
and also to when the Turks closed the region to European pilgrims in the 13th
As a result, he said, “local representations of our Lord's journey of
suffering to the cross were then created in churches across Europe as a way for
pious Christians to follow in the footsteps of Jesus without traveling to
Ediger noted that increasing numbers of Mennonites and other Protestants “are
showing a renewed appreciation for the historic sacred symbols of Christianity,”
such as the Stations of the Cross. He added that it’s a very appropriate symbol
for Mennonites since they have historically viewed themselves as “pilgrim
disciples of Jesus, wandering citizens of another Kingdom, following in the
footsteps of Christ.”
|Betty Dimock's exhibit, Hand: Jesus’ Way to the Cross, is
on display outside the CMU library (south campus).
Dimock’s representation is particularly apt for Mennonites, he went on to
say, since it is “grounded in the symbol of hands, a graphic depiction of
reaching out, service and comfort.”
In receiving the gift, CMU President Gerald Gerbrandt called it “a high
moment in the life” of the university. He also praised and thanked Dimock, who
has hearing loss, for donating a bursary to CMU in memory of her husband,
Herbert. The bursary will be made available to help students with physical
challenges study at CMU.
“These two gifts will continue to give for years to come,” Gerbrandt said,
adding that he hopes it will “move and affect students to use their hands for
In addition to the display, Dimock has produced a book about the exhibit
called The Hand: Jesus’ Way to the Cross. It is available for $20, plus
taxes and shipping, from the CMU bookstore. Sixty percent of the proceeds from
the sale of the book go to the Herbert Victor Dimock Memorial Bursary. Call
1-877-231-4570 or e-mail email@example.com to
order a copy.
Posted September 16, 2007
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