The Women of the Easter Triduum

The Women of the Easter Triduum

With Easter Sunday, our journey through Lent, a time when we are invited to draw closer to the Lord through the disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, has ended. During Holy Week, we prepared ourselves to celebrate the Triduum and the Resurrection of Jesus.

On Holy Thursday, we commemorated the Last Supper, the Washing of the Feet, and the institution of the Eucharist. At the Last Supper Jesus reminds us to love one another as he has loved us.  

When I picture the Last Supper, the image that comes to my mind is from the classic painting by Leonardo da Vinci. In the painting, we see Jesus seated with his twelve disciples, all men who journeyed with him into Jerusalem in his final hours. What we do not see in this painting are the good and holy women who are central to the story of Holy Week.

During Holy Week this year, we held Prayer Services and Easter Celebrations for our young people at Mercy Home. Holy Week this year fell on the last week of Women’s History Month. Throughout the month, we honored women from many diverse arenas of life—those women who have made a profound difference in the world and in our lives. Our Easter gatherings this year offered us a special opportunity to focus on women, particularly those mentioned in the Scriptures as we celebrated the Triduum.  

In my reflection, I talked about the awesome responsibility Mary of Nazareth accepted when the angel Gabriel came to her at the Annunciation.  The angel told her that she was favored among all women to be the mother of our Savior. Mary loved and nurtured Jesus throughout his life and accompanied him in the events we recounted during Holy Week. Mary wept at the foot of the cross as her beloved Son was crucified.


Our Easter gatherings this year offered us a special opportunity to focus on women, particularly those mentioned in the Scriptures as we celebrated the Triduum.

Also in my reflection, I spoke to our young people about St. Veronica, who is never mentioned by name in the Bible, but whose compassion is immortalized in the Sixth Station of the Cross. St. Veronica encountered Jesus as he carried his cross to Calvary. Moved by compassion and love for him, Veronica used her own veil to wipe the face of Jesus that was covered with blood, sweat, and dirt.

Tradition holds that the image of Jesus’s bloodied face was left on the veil. The very image profoundly demonstrates the sufferings of Christ for our waywardness. In this moment, we witness St. Veronica’s bravery, compassion, and kindness. Can you imagine?  Would you have the courage?

Amid the jostling and the shouting of the onlookers and the intimidating Roman soldiers marching Jesus to his execution, Veronica stepped out and showed compassion to Jesus as he was falling under the weight of the cross. Veronica risked her own safety, breaking free from the mob to ease the sufferings of another.  

Can you imagine? Would you have the courage?

Another faithful disciple I reflected on at the Prayer Service was St. Mary Magdalene. She was with Jesus throughout his ministry and witnessed his miracles, his death, burial, and resurrection. 

I read the passage to our young people from St. John’s Gospel that recounts Mary’s early morning arrival at the tomb. Mary had gone to the tomb to complete the anointing of Jesus’s body. When she arrived, she found the stone that had covered the entrance of the tomb had been rolled away.

Mary ran and told Peter and John, “They have taken him from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” Peter and John raced to the tomb; they find the tomb to be empty except for the burial cloths.  They could not grasp the true significance of what they saw.

Later in the Gospel, Mary recounts how she saw two angels in the tomb who asked her why she was crying. She replied, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.”  At that point, Mary turns to see the Risen Jesus, who tells her to tell the disciples the good news. Mary was the first to proclaim the good news of the Risen Lord. 

These three good and holy women that I reflected on are tremendous examples as to how we are to live our faith as disciples of the Risen Lord.  

I asked our young people to reflect on and to be grateful for all the incredible women in their lives, including my coworkers. I ended my reflection by thanking them for the many ways that they embody Jesus’s teachings through their own acts of kindness to others throughout the Lenten Season and year. 

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