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Turn to Jesus (Article)

I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life
Children’s artwork and seminarians’ reflections combine in a guide for the Stations of the Cross

Br  Peter with some of the drawings
Br. Peter with some of the drawings

In an intriguing artistic approach, Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ portrays Simon of Cyrene and Veronica meeting Jesus, each with accompanied by their young daughters. Whether or not this was truly the case, there must have been children present along Jesus’ way of the cross. What imprint did this horrific scene leave in their minds? With the uncanny perception of the very young, did some of them perhaps understand better than their parents what was really taking place? Neither Scripture nor history has handed down children’s thoughts on the Passion to us, but today’s children have a surprisingly deep insight to offer. Just ask Br. Peter Huynh, LC.

A couple of months ago, Br. Peter, a student in Rome, sent out a request for children’s artwork depicting the Stations of the Cross. Wanting to repeat an idea that he had carried out two years earlier, he planned to
The cover of the first volume of the Stations of the Cross
The cover of the first volume of the Stations of the Cross.
produce booklets of the Stations featuring the children’s drawings and accompanied by brief reflections from his fellow seminarians. The response was even better than he had hoped for.

“So many jumped aboard that in the end I had too many brothers…way more than 14 needed to write for each station,” Br. Peter said. “So instead of turning them away, I decided to launch several volumes in one year. Two volumes are written by brothers studying theology (‘I am the Way’ and ‘I am the Life’) and the other by brothers studying philosophy (‘I am the Truth’).” The inspiration for the names of the three volumes was provided by Br. José Eduardo Sánchez, who thought that Jesus’ words “I am the way, the truth, the life” would be helpful for kids to remember.

“’I am the way, the truth, and the life.’ As Jesus carries his cross, he is showing us the way to be holy, the truth about what suffering and love are, and also that through the cross God brings us life.”

Br. Peter also found copious young artists who were excited to share their perspective on the Passion; six schools from the US entered a total of 143 drawings in the contest. Several more schools in the US and other countries were unable to participate because of time constraints, but not to worry: Lent comes every year, and Br. Peter is hoping to make this an annual tradition!

Once all of the artwork had arrived, the brothers voted on three drawings for each Station. The top three drawings were then made into three booklets of the Stations, with accompanying reflections by the seminarians.

Among all available versions of the Stations
Some of the brothers voting for their favorite artwork
Some of the brothers voting for their favorite artwork
of the Cross, why one with children’s drawings? As Br. Peter explains in his introduction to the first booklet, children have remarkably deep and accurate perceptions of the mystery of Jesus’ life and death, which they express in a simple and heartfelt way. Br. Peter also has an interest in psychology, which he studies “in my non-existent free time,” and is intrigued by the differences in how boys and girls color.

“A child…can express in an illustration his deep feelings of what Christ endured on his way to Calvary. What you see is their unadulterated view of what Christ did for them. The boyish, melancholic grey and brown speak of a fight between love and hate. A girl chooses bright blue, cheerful canary, and floral fuchsia which convey the kindness and love with which Jesus embraces the cross.”

Jesus told us that we must “become like little children” if we want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. What better way to do this than to accompany him in his Passion this Lent through the eyes of children?

A ‘low-quality’ printable version of the first volume of the Stations of the Cross, “I am the Way”, is available here. Click here for volume two, and here for volume three. For more information, contact Br. Peter Huynh at



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