The Sacred Garden and Labyrinth
The Sacred Garden
The garden is a contemplative place, a welcome and peaceful place. See the following video (spring of 2016), which provides an overview. It's narrated by parishioner, Mike Simpson.
The Sacred Garden welcomes you. The gates show the way in and are always open 24/7.
Originally inaugurated in the summer of 2012,
like each of us, the Sacred Garden is always a work-in-progress and is still growing!
St. Mary's Labyrinth
In April 2016 a video, narrated by Leslie Davies, was produced to explain the labyrinth experience as part of St. Mary's Sacred Garden. See below.
The Labyrinth, which completed the building of the Sacred Garden, was opened in 2015. The following video by Joshua Dobrowolski gives a 'bird's-eye-view' of the completed project.
More FACTS About the LABYRINTH in ST. MARY'S SACRED GARDEN
Did you know that the original vision statement directing the design of our new church was: A pilgrim journey from the secular to the spiritual punctuated by significant artworks. The Sacred Garden is an essential part of that pilgrim journey. Within our Sacred Garden, blessed by Bishop Frederick Henry on September 7, 2014, we have a labyrinth. In the Middle Ages, walking a cathedral labyrinth was a substitute for going on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Not everyone could make the long and arduous journey to the Holy Land, so walking a labyrinth in a church was a devotional activity. Today, church labyrinths are used as walking meditations, to focus the mind and put the walker in tune with their own sacred journey.
The labyrinth in our Sacred Garden is a 7-circuit model. A labyrinth is viewed as a walking meditation, a path of prayer and an archetypal blueprint where psyche meets Spirit. It has only one path that leads from the outer edge in a circuitous way to the centre. Unlike a maze where you can lose your way, the labyrinth is a spiritual tool that can help you find your way. The labyrinth is a metaphor of our spiritual journey toward God, a journey that can have many unexpected twists and turns, but that always and ever leads us to our God, our centre. For a short video introduction to the labyrinth, check out the following INTRODUCTION to ST. PAUL'S LABYRINTH in Vancouver- click HERE.
Labyrinths are currently being used world-wide as a way to quiet the mind, recover a balance in life, and encourage meditation, insight, self-reflection and celebration. They are open to all people as a non-denominational, cross-cultural blueprint for spiritual well-being. The practice of labyrinth walking integrates the body with the mind and the mind with the spirit. The labyrinth in our Sacred Garden is open 24/7. We hope you will check it out soon!
If several people walk a labyrinth together, they may pass one another, going in either the same direction or opposite to each other. They may pass in meditative silence or quietly salute each other by a nod of the head or a raising of the hands. The effect of meeting fellow pilgrims on the path is part of the labyrinth experience. The labyrinth is a joyfully sacred space -- you do not need to be somber around it. But if someone is walking the labyrinth, it is courteous to respect the need they may have for quiet concentration.
Additional background information about St. Mary's SACRED GARDEN was printed in two articles—one in 2012 in The Cochrane Eagle newspaper, and one in 2014 in The Kolbe Times. Both articles were written by parishioner Warren Harbeck. See below.
COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, July 18, 2012
Mother Teresa's quote, "Let us do something beautiful for God," defines the Sacred Garden at Cochrane's St. Mary's Catholic Church.
A recently installed plaque outside one of Cochrane's churches features a quote from the renowned missionary humanitarian of Calcutta, Mother Teresa. It reads, "Let us do something beautiful for God." The words are inscribed in a 42-inch steel plate in a beautiful setting of its own, nestled in the centre of a circle of paving stones beneath a bold-timbered arbour in the Sacred Garden at the southwest corner of St. Mary's Catholic Church south of the Bow River.
The Sacred Garden, a work in progress, has drawn on the contributions of many skilled craftspeople and volunteers to fashion its restful space. The driving force behind the project is our Cochrane-area coffee companion Mike Simpson. Mike is no stranger to doing beautiful things. Among many other achievements over the years, his past engineering career involved designing bridges to bring people together. The Confederation Bridge between New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island is an example of his firm's involvement. In the Sacred Garden, however, a bridge of a different kind has been created: a bridge between the visible and the Invisible.
That's why, I think, Mike's committee settled on the quote from Mother Teresa to define the Sacred Garden. In fact, I was given the honour of selecting the quote. So, just how do I see her wish for us to "do something beautiful for God" working out in our foothills community? Here are three thoughts that come to my mind immediately, and regular readers of these columns won't be at all surprised by my suggestions:
The beauty of longing hearts. There is an awe-inspiring quality inherent in beauty, whether it's the magnificence of a sunset or the glory of a fragrant garden. In the context of such beauty our hearts find satisfaction for their hunger for the Beautiful One, the Creator of all, expressed in the sensory-awakening splendour of sky and earth.