About St. Clement's Labyrinth
The Labyrinth at St. Clement’s is patterned after the 11-circuit labyrinth of Chartres Cathedral in France. The Chartres labyrinth was inlaid into the stone floor in 1201 A.D. The Labyrinth at St. Clement’s was installed in March 2006 thanks to a gift from parishioners Rick and Kay James. The installation followed a major renovation of the church, its parish hall, and grounds in 2005. It is over 42 feet in diameter. A complete circuit from entrance to exit is 1/3 of a mile.
The labyrinth is an ancient pattern found in many cultures around the world. These patterns are based on spirals found in nature and they share a common feature – they have one path which winds in a circuitous route to the center. A labyrinth is not a maze which is a puzzle with trick pathways and dead ends. It is, instead, a winding path which leads one into the center, and one must return using the same path. Thus, the entrance becomes the exit.
In ancient times whole villages made pilgrimages to the Holy Land during Lent to “meet” Jesus and visit the holy sites. In the 12th century when travel became dangerous during the Crusades, the pope appointed pilgrimage cathedrals. Labyrinths were constructed in the floors of these designated cathedrals. Thus, the actual pilgrimages of ancient times became symbolic pilgrimages around the winding paths of labyrinths. The purpose remains the same, however; as one walks the path to the center, it is a journey into the depths of the self to interact with the divine. The path out brings the sojourner back into the world.
Today labyrinths are used “as a way to quiet the mind, find balance, and encourage meditation, insight and celebration.”* There is no right or wrong way of walking the labyrinth, only the way that meets your needs.
Veriditas, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to introducing people to the healing and meditative power of the labyrinth, suggests that there are three stages to the walk: “releasing on the way in, receiving in the center, and returning – that is, taking back out into the world that which you have received.” *
So what is a labyrinth? “It is path of prayer, a walking meditation, a crucible of change, a watering hole for the spirit, and a mirror of the soul. May you be nourished.”*
Our labyrinth is reserved specifically for walking on the first Tuesday of every month. Other optimal times for walking include week nights after 5 pm, Saturdays, and Sundays after 1 pm. Reservations are not necessary. The labyrinth may be closed to walking when special events on the parish campus require additional parking space.
May the peace of the Lord be always with you.
*Source: Veriditas: Home of the Labyrinth Movement