Labyrinth of the Little Flower

Labyrinth of the Little Flower

The Labyrinth combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path and is located on the south side of the Immaculate Conception Chapel.

Oblate School of Theology has its own labyrinth at last, answering an oft-voiced desire of many in the OST community. About 40 attended the dedication of the Labyrinth of the Little Flower Feb. 6 as Father Ron Rolheiser, OMI, presided and blessed it with holy water. The structure, adjacent to the St. Therese Terrace on the south side of the Immaculate Conception Chapel, was financed with donations and built with volunteer labor under the supervision of Robert Ferre, a professional labyrinth designer, and Father Clyde Rausch, OMI, the project manager. “Already by the fourth century, Christians were putting labyrinths near churches, inside churches and on floors,” Father Rolheiser explained. “The labyrinth calls us to meditate in a specific way. It’s hard for us to be still; we’re always rushing, rushing, rushing; but the whole idea of a labyrinth is to slow your life down so you have to be still.” Right up into the medieval ages, as part of Christian spirituality, he continued, “everyone who was healthy was expected to do a pilgrimage to the Holy Land; very few had the resources to do it, so the poor and all those who couldn’t go to the Holy Land made their pilgrimage by walking a labyrinth.” The most popular and most emulated Christian labyrinth in the world is in the Cathedral of Chartres in France, installed in 1201. Brian Wallace, director of the Oblate Renewal Center, said that when African Methodist Episcopal Bishop Vashti McKenzie visited the OST campus in early 2014, her district was planning an event called “Pray-cation” and participants were interested in a labyrinth. The structure was not completed in time for that event, but the request sparked a new enthusiasm and plans went forward to make it a reality.

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