In the Christian religion, today is Good Friday, which commemorates the Crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ, some 2000 years ago.
One of the traditional services held on Good Friday morning around the world is the The Stations of the Cross, where Christ's journey from trial to crucifixion is remembered by prayers at 14 "stations" which record significant points along his difficult journey. (Another option is called "The Way of The Cross," where that journey takes the form of a sombre, respectful parade through local streets).
The 14 Stations of the Cross appear on the walls of most churches, either as paintings, sculptures, carvings, or stained glass windows. Some are very traditional and some are very stylized, but all record specific points along the journey that Jesus took on foot, as passed down to us in the Bible.
We have featured Leopoldine Mimovich (Poldi) on the blog a number of times previously. (Links to our previous posts can be found in the Footnotes below). She was a well known, talented and prolific sculptor and painter of religious icons, after emigrating to Australia after World War 2. Part of her motivation for doing this was in gratitude and thanks to God for finding a safe life after the trauma of the war.
We were recently contacted by Maureen Donnellon, of Birchip, in rural Victoria, to say that she was thriled to discover our past posts on Poldi, as the Stations of the Cross, plus a large crucifix and a statue of Mary in her local church of St Mary's had been created by Poldi, and installed there in 1967. Maureen tells us that Poldi consulted extensively with the Irish Parish Priest of the time, Father Boylan, on the design of the Stations.
Poldi was an extremely versatile sculptor, working in wood, bronze and silver. They eventually decided on wooden carvings for the Birchip church.
Maureen recalls that Poldi came up to Birchip (approximately 3.5 hours drive from Melbourne), for the opening of the Church containing her beautiful carvings.
To mark Good Friday 2022, we would like to show you Poldi's statues of Mary and Child, the Crucifix, the Sacred Heart of Jesus plus carvings of the Stations of the Cross: with thanks to Margaret Donnellon of Birchip.
I think they are just as beautiful, appropriate and enduring today as they were 55 years ago ......... what do you think?
And Maureen has kindly taken photos of the Stations of the Cross in St Mary's, Birchip, for you to see. All were created by Poldi Mimovich.
Maureen explained to us that St Mary's, Birchip inherited the old Style stations from the Watchem Church (as shown below) which closed as a church for the Catholic congregation but was purchased by the community of Watchem as a venue for musical performances, weddings etc.
Watchem is a tiny town in north western Victoria with a population of about 100 compared to Maureen's town of Birchip which has a thriving population of nearly 700 people.
We will be returning to Birchip, Victoria very soon to learn more about stained glass windows and to see the beautiful "Mary" window in St Mary's, Birchip, made by Ferguson and Pappas. Andy Ferguson, also a very accomplished painter, is still running the family stained glass making business and we will be meeting Andy very soon.
With thanks to Maureen Donnellon of Birchip, Victoria Australia, for giving us permission to reproduce her beautiful photos here.