The Marymount University community learned firsthand about the medieval tradition of walking meditation when a portable labyrinth from the Washington National Cathedral was set up on campus Monday.
We hoped that it would be attractive to people because its a way of meditating and praying that wasnt stationary, said Dr. Brian Flanagan, an assistant professor of theology at Marymount. We received a lot of very positive comments from people who said they felt calmer and at peace at the end.
The labyrinth is a sacred pattern with a prescribed path to its center and out again. According to the National Cathedrals website, walking it is a way of praying with the body that invites the divine presence into an active conversation with the heart and soul. The labyrinth has 11 circuits and is divided into four quadrants, clearly defined by a cross. Its center is a rose-shaped area for resting, prayer, or meditation.
Flanagan estimated that about 60 students, staff and faculty used the 27-foot cloth labyrinth, which was set up in the Lower Rec Gym of the Rose Benté Lee Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Labyrinth Day at Marymount was sponsored by the spiritual wellness task force.
As a theologian, I like that it is very much rooted in the Catholic tradition but accessible for people, whatever their religious tradition or how they now think of their spirituality, Flanagan said. Id love to see this become a regular event on campus or to someday have a permanent labyrinth here.
Many members of the Marymount University community walked a cloth labyrinth that was on loan from the Washington National Cathedral on March 30. (Photo by Cameron Speller)
Marymount University students participated in the schools Labyrinth Day on March 30. Dr. Brian Flanagan, an assistant professor of theology, said the participants felt calmer and at peace after meditating and praying on the sacred labyrinth pattern. (Photo by Cameron Speller)