Labyrinth at Saint Mary’s
The labyrinth at Saint Mary’s is located in a tranquil garden setting surrounded by flowers and trees. This sacred, meditative space is accessible to the Saint Mary’s College community and the people of South Bend.
What is a labyrinth?
A labyrinth is a complex and circuitous walk, a winding pathway that serves as an aid to meditation.
Labyrinth patterns are universal. They are found in ancient cultures in basket weave designs, paintings and drawings all over the world. In the Middle Ages, labyrinths were made with colored paving stones in the floors of cathedral naves. People walked the labyrinth as a symbolic pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
To walk a labyrinth can be a journey, which leads to sensing the mystery of God at the very center of one’s being. Walking the pattern of the labyrinth seems to help people get into a meditative state very quickly — to find one’s center.
How to walk a labyrinth
Walking a labyrinth can model the three-fold spiritual path:
- Purgation. This implies letting go of what blocks us in life. It is a way of emptying or releasing. Pause at the entry to allow yourself to be fully conscious of the act of stepping into the labyrinth. Allow yourself to find a comfortable pace and to stop and rest for a bit.
- Illumination. This is usually found at the center of the labyrinth. After quieting the mind during the first part of the walk, the center can present a new experience. It is a place for meditation and prayer. Here you may receive an insight into a situation or clarity about a certain problem.
- Union. This begins as you leave the center and start back. In communion with God you go back to your ordinary life renewed and empowered to act. You bring your gifts to the service of the world.
The labyrinth is an ancient tool. Not only can we walk it in faith with others around the world today, but we are also accompanied in our desire for transformation and holiness by those who have gone before us. While walking the labyrinth may be a private or a personal experience, it is also a global venture and a walk across time.