College staff assembled on the bottom court on Monday 4 September for a special liturgy to mark the opening and blessing of the St Mary’s College labyrinth.
The College’s Director of Identity and Mission, Sharon Lawler, who oversaw the project in 2023, welcomed everyone to the liturgy and gave a short overview of the meaning and use of labyrinths in spirituality in general, and in the Christian tradition in particular.
Leading our staff in prayer, Fr Leonard Caldera recited A Litany of Pilgrimage, acknowledging the labyrinth as ‘a sacred path of prayer and worship, discernment and discovery, healing and reconciliation, celebration and thanksgiving’.
Following the official blessing and prayers of thanksgiving, St Mary’s College Principal, Damian Messer was invited to journey towards the centre of the labyrinth, with staff watching in reverence.
Used by staff and students alike, the St Mary’s labyrinth provides opportunities for meditation and mindfulness, offering a pathway to peace and a relationship with God.
Representing growth and transformation, walking the labyrinth is also an exercise in self-healing, helping to quieten the mind, relax the body and regulate behaviour.
Our labyrinth features a contemporary stone design inspired by the labyrinth in the Chartres Cathedral in France, which comprises seven circuits to the centre.
It is defined by a single path with twists and turns and some expansive sweeps to the large circular middle. Close to the start of the labyrinth is a small white circle. This is symbolic to God, the light of darkness, the beginning and the end. As we walk the labyrinth, just as we walk life’s journey, we are reminded that God is always with us.
Walking the labyrinth
- Preparing: What is your purpose for walking the labyrinth? Do you carry a worry? Do you have a question? Are you walking for someone else?
- Entering: Wait at the start until the person in front has turned the first corner, then pause and bow to show respect. Enter, with an open heart and mind, focusing on the path.
- Reaching the centre: When you reach the centre, pause for as long as you need. This can be a time of prayer, guidance, rest, listening and openness.
- Walking out: When you are ready, take the same path out of the labyrinth. As you go, notice any differences in your walking, review and reflect.
- Leaving: When you reach the exit, turn to the centre and bow as a gesture of thanks.
- Reflecting: How did you feel walking the labyrinth? What was your favourite path? What did you notice? About yourself? About others? What might the labyrinth teach us about life?