In September, 2004, 30 volunteers from Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Virginia gathered on grounds of St. Scholastica Monastery to construct a labyrinth. Nationally known labyrinth builders Stuart and Mary Bartholomaus of Knoxville, TN directed the project. An eleven-circuit design divided into four quadrants, patterned after the labyrinth built into the nave of the Chartres Cathedral in the 13th century, was replicated. A natural labyrinth made of stone and wood chips blends beautifully into the peaceful landscape on the south side of the monastery.
Generous donations from retreatants and Friends of the Center were used to construct the labyrinth, which is now enjoyed by sisters, retreatants, and area residents.
In the Chartres labyrinth, the pilgrim walks through each quadrant several times before reaching the center. The winding walk symbolizes the pilgrim’s search for God. It is a wonderful metaphor for the spiritual journey.
New visitors to the St. Scholastica labyrinth can pick up a helpful brochure near the site before starting their prayerful journey. The brochure contains helpful suggestions for walking the labyrinth using St. Teresa of Avila’s three-fold path of contemplation.
Creator and Guide of my life,
surround me with your sacred presence as I prepare to walk this Labyrinth.
Help me to experience the presence of all those who have walked before me.
Remembering the words of Jesus, "I am the way, the truth and the life,"
I ask that each person who walks this path be guided in truth.
Bless their every step and teach us to be paths for one another.
Following are excerpts from the Blessing and Dedication Ceremony
Creator and Guide of our Lives: May those who walk this path seeking wisdom find in you an abundant supply. May all who come here seeking healing open their hearts to the medicine of your presence. May those who come with guilt be set free of their burdens and find a way to reconcile the past and walk into the future with courage and renewed hope. May those whose faith has grown weak find here a beautiful rekindling of their spirits. May all who come as pilgrims seeking a glimpse of your face be touched by your shining presence. May those those who come with hurried steps, leave with a slower pace.
You who are our Sacred Path, we ask you to hallow, bless and sanctify this labyrinth. Bless our every step as you teach us to be paths for one another.
The labyrinth is a path of prayer--a spiritual tool to help us become closer to God. We thank you, gracious God, for the many hands and hearts that helped create this sacred path.
The twists and turns of the labyrinth are metaphors for our own individual spiritual journeys. As we seek your guidance on this path, accept us, comfort us, and challenge us to be all that we can be.
We do not always feel close to the Center. We do not always know if we are on the right path. We know only that we always stand in need of purification, transformation, and renewal. Be with us on our pilgrim journeys.