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Bringing Forth What Is Hidden

8/10/2021 | Liz Walz, ASP - Executive Director

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A while ago, Genesis received the gift of a canvas labyrinth along with a number of boxes of accessories, some easels and posters. Due to its size, the labyrinth will only fit in the Providence Room and time passed as we waited for the room to be available so we could unfold the labyrinth and walk it. In the meanwhile, Nick and Wayne stored the labyrinth, boxes and posters upstairs in a Carriage House closet. Weeks passed, then months. Years.

Last week, with a Directed Retreat in house leaving the Providence Room open, the labyrinth rose as an image in my mind and curiosity got the better of me. Down came the posters and boxes. And boxes. We sneezed a bit as we opened them up. The result was astonishing.

I was introduced to labyrinths as a path for walking meditation at the Los Angeles Catholic Worker in the 1990’s. In the early 2000’s, Daughters of Charity invited me to co-facilitate labyrinth walks for groups of women on day retreats and I saw first-hand the healing and transformative power of a group labyrinth walk. In 2013, I met Lorrie Villemaire, SSJ, during an Easter Triduum retreat at Genesis, and discovered she was a labyrinth facilitator, author, and co-founder of the Labyrinth Committee of Western Massachusetts. Thus began a multi-year collaboration among a dozen women and labyrinth enthusiasts in walks, programs, area tours, and Spiritual Spa days. I’ve walked labyrinths in Europe, across the US, and in Canada. None of these experiences prepared me for the labyrinth setup we unveiled in late July.

Sr. Terese Dube, SASV, amassed a collection over decades that invites the labyrinth journeyer into an encounter with the realm of all Creation, and beyond. Carved praying human figurines; animals from Africa – some as tall as four feet high! – drums, singing bowls, rattles and other percussion and wind musical instruments, even a xylophone; artwork and posters, colored scarves, stones and shells, and battery-operated candles of various sizes and colors adorn the labyrinth. Posters of the Prodigal Son, galaxies and Earth from Space, labyrinths made of stone in grass and in sand at the seashore, and a Maxfield Parish print invoke a far-away and other-worldly sensibility. Each artifact is an opportunity for engaging with an aspect of Creation, the external image bringing forth some inner capacity or gift for exploration and deepening.

Deaconate aspirants are on their initial formation retreat at Genesis this weekend. Two days ago, we packed up the posters, instruments, scarves, figurines, candles, and folded the labyrinth into its crate. It is all tucked away in shelves in a closet, upstairs in the Carriage House, awaiting the next emergence, dates and times to be determined. I hope you will join us in the exploration.

 

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Oh, great Father, never let me judge another man until I have walked in his moccasins for two weeks.
- A Prayer for Understanding