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Infertility Stations of the Cross

We are honored to share this reflection on the Stations of the Cross through the lens of infertility. It is a collaborative effort of The Fruitful Hollow and Sisters of Hannah team members. We invite you to enter into the mystery of Jesus’ passion, asking Him to accompany you on your journey. We pray that the love of the heavenly Father be with you and remain with you.


To begin each station, please use the following refrain:

“We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world!”


You may wish to read the suggested passage of Scripture to accompany each station.


To conclude each station, please use the following refrain:

“Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps!”


Click the download button below to download a PDF version of these stations.

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OPENING PRAYER

God of love, you entered into creation out of tender compassion, so that we might be redeemed from our sinfulness and broken nature. Please be with us on our infertility journey, that we might know your love, learn from your example, and join our intentions with those who need you most right now. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


FIRST STATION: JESUS IS CONDEMNED TO DEATH

“We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world!”

(Mark 15: 1-15)


For many of us, there was a moment where we too felt condemned. The test results came in, the final procedure failed, the doctors told us there was nothing more they could do. It felt like a death sentence. Sometimes it feels as though this struggle can never be redeemed. Perhaps there was a moment where Jesus’ followers were asking “how, God?” Let us be patient as we walk this path. We may not see the end yet, but we know by faith how the story of salvation ends. Our God is a God of miracles. We too shall be redeemed.


Let us pray: God, we may not yet see the plans you have for us, but we know you have already prepared the perfect story for our lives. Please help us to keep hope that you are with us, you see us, and you will walk with us.

“Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps!”


SECOND STATION: JESUS ACCEPTS HIS CROSS

“We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world!”

(John 19: 13-17)


Carrying the cross of infertility can feel like the death of a dream for our marriage and our plans for the future. Perhaps Jesus also felt there was more to experience in His earthly life beyond the cross. Yet when he took up His cross on the day of His Passion, He faced imminent death, falsely accused of being a criminal. He knew that in order to fulfill His vocation and complete the salvation of souls, He needed to endure that very cross. When our lives command difficult decisions and the only certainty is that our path will be hard, let us look to the example of Jesus. May His embrace of the cross be the strength we need to carry our own. May the cross be a source of courage and our path to holiness.


Let us pray: Jesus, you carried the cross with courage. You embraced unimaginable hardship with strength and compassion. Bless our marriages as we face this trial, so that we may grow in greater love and sacrifice together. May we find comfort in your embrace of this cross and strength to carry our own with grace.

“Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps!”


THIRD STATION: JESUS FALLS THE FIRST TIME

“We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world!”

(Isaiah 53: 4-7)


The load of infertility can cause us to stumble: in the way we see ourselves, the way we interact with others, in our marriage, and even our relationship with God. This heavy, silent weight in our hearts often brings us to our knees in tears, looking for answers. Through the cross, Jesus takes on our load and tells us to take His, for His "yoke is easy and burden light" (Matthew 11:30). Not only does Jesus fall with us, but He falls for us, teaching us how to get back up and to lay our hope in Him.


Let us pray: Lord Jesus, we stand in grateful awe of your love that takes on suffering and death for our sake. Give us strength in times when we fall, and help us remember your determination to continue on in our journey, placing our hope in you.

“Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps!”


FOURTH STATION: JESUS MEETS HIS MOTHER

“We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world!”

(Lamentations 1: 12)


In the midst of Christ’s journey to Calvary, He encounters His Mother. His unfathomable pain and agony is met in this moment by intense emotion as His eyes locked on hers. His mother was there. She saw Him in His darkest moment and met Him with love and consolation. While we carry our own cross, let us seek the face of Mary, our Blessed Mother. She steadily meets our gaze; she does not rejoice in our sufferings but propels us forward on the way to our own Calvary with a newfound strength and courage.


Let us pray: Mary, lead us to meet the gaze of your son. Give us the courage to persevere and move onward when the weight of our cross feels too heavy. Lead us onward as we carry our cross so that we may fully offer our own suffering to your son.

“Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps!”


FIFTH STATION: SIMON OF CYRENE HELPS JESUS CARRY HIS CROSS

“We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world!”

(Mark 15: 21)


Sometimes the suffering we face in infertility can feel like too much for us to bear on our own, as if there is no way that we can muster the strength to continue with this cross for any longer. If even Jesus, God incarnate, accepted help to carry his cross, then how much more should we be willing to allow others to help and support us in carrying our own? Let us be gentle with ourselves during this challenging season, and open to seeking and receiving help along our journey. Through our experiences with the challenges of cross-carrying, let us increase our empathy towards others who are facing their own suffering. Let us open our eyes and our hearts to those around us who need us to support them as they navigate their own challenges.


Let us pray: Jesus, open my eyes to see when there is an opportunity to alleviate the suffering of another, even if it is just to be present and accompany them during a tough time. May others feel your love through my actions. Help me to come out of myself and my struggles to be a Simon of Cyrene to them. Please send me the support I need to help carry the load of my own suffering right now. Sometimes it can feel like too much for me to carry on my own. I know how much you care for me and that you will provide.

“Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps!”


SIXTH STATION: VERONICA WIPES THE FACE OF JESUS

“We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world!”

(Matthew 25: 40)


Imagine the helplessness that Veronica experienced; standing by and having to watch Christ be tortured, tormented and paraded through the city on His way to be executed. In her own compassion, she stepped out of the crowd and wiped the blood, dirt and tears from the face of our Lord. How often do we encounter a feeling of helplessness on our own journey? Whose face are we called to wipe? With whom can we share the gentle love of Christ?


Let us pray: Jesus, give me the compassion of Veronica. Help me to step out of the crowd and share a piece of your love with those I encounter. Teach me to be a comforter and companion to those who need it. Allow me to show my love for others in their darkest hour.

“Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps!”


SEVENTH STATION: JESUS FALLS THE SECOND TIME

“We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world!”

(Psalm 38: 6-22)


What a hidden cross infertility can be. The weight we may carry as we smile with clenched teeth through pregnancy announcements, cry through birthdays without little ones to sing, chart with cautious hope each month and compare ourselves to others. We may fall down time after time but, like the Lord, we rise. We struggle, we get up and we keep going. We never give up on hope.


Let us pray: Jesus, when we feel ourselves stumbling under the heavy weight of the cross you’ve entrusted to us, help us to rise. Give us the faith to keep going.

“Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps!”


EIGHTH STATION: JESUS MEETS THE WOMEN OF JERUSALEM

“We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world!”

(Luke 23: 27-31)


When walking the road of infertility, it is easy to slip into the lie that the Lord has abandoned us, that He has forgotten us and that He will never fulfill our heart’s desire. Like the women who Jesus confronts, we may have lost our way, retreated from the Lord and believed the lies of the enemy. In this station, the Lord admonishes the women to “weep not for me, but for yourselves”. As we prepare our hearts for Jesus’ death, may we cling to Him in his mercy and repent our disbelief.


Let us pray: Jesus, may we remember you have never abandoned us. Be with us on this journey, especially when we start to lose faith.

“Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps!”


NINTH STATION: JESUS FALLS A THIRD TIME

“We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world!”

(Psalm 37: 23-24)


As our journey of infertility continues, we may feel knocked down by the crushing weight of our own personal cross. The vibrant energy we once had towards our spouse, our doctor’s plan and the excitement around building a family may be depleted. We doubt, we rage, we mourn. As we encounter new obstacles, we may lose the desire to continually trust in the Lord and His plan. We might feel forgotten, alone and weak. Consider how Jesus mustered up the strength to pull his cross to the exact location of his death. May we muster up our own strength and persevere along the path Jesus has for us.


Let us pray: Jesus, be near to those feeling the weight of their personal crosses. May they have the strength to get up and take the next step towards the plan you have set for their lives.

“Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps!”


TENTH STATION: JESUS’ CLOTHES ARE TAKEN AWAY

“We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world!”

(John 19: 23-24)


Infertility can bring us into very vulnerable situations, especially in medical environments. From tests to ultrasounds, from surgeries in our very wombs to invasive questions about our most private, intimate lives that most other married couples don’t face, we can end up feeling quite exposed to the world. Jesus, stripped of His clothes, understands that exposure and pain. Let us unite ourselves to our Jesus in these times.


Let us pray: Jesus, you were unjustly stripped to nakedness in front of your onlookers. Be with us in our vulnerability in the most exposed moments. Help us to fight shame and advocate for ourselves in uncomfortable situations.

“Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps!”


ELEVENTH STATION: JESUS IS NAILED TO THE CROSS

“We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world!”

(Luke 23: 33-43)


Naked with His arms stretched wide and His feet joined together, Christ is nailed to a tree. After experiencing the agony of the first nail, He had to withstand the torture of two more. He is now in the position of His death; exposed and revealed on the cross. Once He was secured, he was hoisted up. He is no longer carrying the cross; He is united with it. What would it take for us to be truly united with the crosses we carry? We must unite with our own cross in order to truly experience the joy of salvation.


Let us pray: Jesus, you felt every second of your death so that I might experience eternal life. Help me to unite fully to the cross you have helped me carry. Allow me to do your will fully so that I can experience the joy of your resurrection.

“Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps!”


TWELFTH STATION: JESUS DIES ON THE CROSS

“We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world!”

(John 19: 28-37)


Before Jesus’ final breath, he spoke the words “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?” (Mark 15:34) In moments of desperation, we can feel lost and alone. Even Jesus himself felt the magnitude of the moment, yet His greatest work was yet to be done. In John 19 we are told that among Jesus’ final words are “I thirst” and “It is finished.” As we endure this season of struggle, may we be ever mindful of Jesus’ thirst for us and His courage to endure the cross for us. Our story is still being written. His spirit is still at work within us, at this very moment. As Jesus took his final breath, His earthly life was ending, but not His love for us.


Let us pray: Jesus, you endured the ultimate suffering for us. May we gaze upon the crucifix and join our hearts with yours, knowing that the sacrifice you gave was a ransom for our souls. May we realize that our season of suffering is just that - a season - and your promise is that out of the blood, sweat and tears, we shall continue to live and see life anew.

“Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps!”


THIRTEENTH STATION: JESUS’ BODY IS REMOVED FROM THE CROSS

“We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world!”

(John 19: 38-40)


Lifeless, empty and heavy. This station challenges us to face our broken dreams upon the cross and reassess our relationship with them. When Jesus was taken down from the cross, the reality of this moment weighed heavily upon the few who remained. The Blessed Mother held her beloved son in her arms, knowing that she would not hold Him in the flesh again this side of heaven. It was an unbearable moment but one that she faced with grace and courage. For those who have experienced miscarriage, the weight of the loss is enormous. Let us invite the Blessed Mother to sit with us and hold us as we remember those we have lost or the dreams that seem shattered. May we turn our hearts to Jesus and embrace Him in this moment of grief.


Let us pray: Jesus, you know the depths of our longing and tears. May we find greater strength and healing for the wounds and grief that we carry. Your beloved mother is a wonderful advocate. May we turn to her and find a companion for our journey through our toughest season. Mary, Queen of Peace and Mother of Mercy, pray for us!

“Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps!”


FOURTEENTH STATION: JESUS IS LAID IN THE TOMB

“We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world!”

(Mark 15: 46-47)


It’s done. It’s hidden. It looks hopeless. To an outside observer, it was all for nothing. No comfort. No grand finale. Just a closed tomb, a corpse, some scattered friends. Oh, how many of us have laid in this very tomb in the midst of our infertility? While I could elaborate on the resurrection joy about to happen, let’s just stay here in the tomb for a while. Because it is not an insignificant part of the salvation plan. Christ not only descended into hell, He descends into our very deepest infertility struggles and meets us there. He lies in our tombs with us. Let us meet Him there.


Let us pray: Jesus, let me comfort you here, where it looks the most hopeless and most final. Allow my pain to build into true compassion and to console your pierced heart. In my misery, have mercy on me.

“Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps!”


CLOSING PRAYER

Jesus, we adore you. We entrust our cross to you and all those impacted by infertility. For all who have lost loved ones, for all those searching for their purpose and identity, for all those who struggle with the meaning of their lives, and all those whose lives are endangered throughout the world, we pray. Help us to live truly fruitful lives in this moment, in this very journey we walk. Jesus, hear us. Jesus, restore us. Jesus, never be far from us and bring us peace. Amen.


 
With thanks to our contributors
1st station: Gillyan McCabe
2nd station: Serenity Quesnelle
3rd station: Megan S.
4th station: Lauren Allen
5th station: Ellen H.
6th station: Lauren Allen
7th station: Victoria B.
8th station: Victoria B.
9th station: Victoria B.
10th station: Chelsea Voboril
11th station: Lauren Allen
12th station: Kristin D.
13th station: Kristin D.
14th station: Chelsea Voboril
Editor: Katie S.
Photography: Stuart Ward (St. Aidan’s Catholic Church, Coulsdon, UK)

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