Pope Benedict XVI asked a sister of the order of St. Augustine to author the prayers and meditations that will be used for this year's Good Friday way of the cross in Rome.
The Vatican announced March 25 that the president of the international federation of Augustine sisters, Mother Maria Rita Piccione, composed the meditations according to the "traditional" 14 stations.
The “traditional” form employs a mixture of scripture and tradition-based scenes. Another option exists in the “biblical” form of the rite, introduced in 1991 by Pope John Paul II and including only the stations with an explicit foundations in scripture.
Both the traditional and biblical forms describe Jesus' Passion through stages along the path to the cross.
The 2011 texts will be released in a soon-to-be published booklet meant to accompany pilgrims and television viewers through the stations. Along with them are images created by another Augustine sister, Sister Elena Manganelli of the federation's convent in Siena, Italy, to guide people in prayer.
Mother Piccione is a resident of the Augustines' Rome headquarters at the Convent of the Santi Quattro Coronati, within view of the Colosseum.
She is the latest of a number of women to be chosen by the Pope to write the Good Friday meditations. According to Italy's Avvenire newspaper, she is the eighth woman and third religious sister to do so.
In the 1990s, a Benedictine abbess and a Protestant nun from Switzerland both took on the responsibility. The other five women have been journalists.
A significant Augustinian “stamp” marks this year's way of the cross. Easter will be celebrated on April 24 this year, the same day St. Augustine was baptized in the year 387.