Labyrinth Moved to Beacon Street

Labyrinth Moved to Beacon Street

Medieval prayer circle is dedicated at new site

By Kathleen Sullivan
Staff Writer

A medieval-style labyrinth similar to one that drew more than 1,000 students, faculty, staff, neighbors and University visitors to its path on the Burns Library lawn last year has been installed at another campus location.

A dedication ceremony led by Jesuit Community Rector Francis Hermann, SJ, was held on Oct. 7 at the new site across Beacon Street from Carney Hall. Following the blessing, Asst. Prof. Bruce Morrill, SJ (Theology), offered a brief history of labyrinths and an instructional session on walking the labyrinth. (Click here for photo).

Inspired by the labyrinths in Gothic cathedrals of medieval France, the Boston College labyrinth - a 50-foot circle of concentric rings forming a single path to the center that was painted on the lawn by the Athletic Association Maintenance worker Paul Gallivan - is intended to provide a space for prayer, reflection and meditation. A near duplication of the labyrinth on the floor of the Cathedral of Chartres, the BC labyrinth consists of 12 rings enclosing a single path that meanders to a center rosette through 28 loops, totaling some 300 yards in length.

Senior Timothy Sullivan - president of the BC chapter of the French honor society Pi Delta Phi, which led the effort to establish the labyrinth - said it offers a meditation opportunity for members of the BC community and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Prof. Rebecca Valette (Romance Languages) said last year's labyrinth was tremendously popular and reflects a national trend toward spiritual interest in the medieval prayer circles.

Visitors' responses to last year's labyrinth were catalogued in a guest book. "It helped me to be at peace and allowed me to reflect upon a significant issue that needs resolution," wrote one visitor. "Such a positive, peaceful experience; a form of prayer that relaxes and energizes; a strong connection to God and nature," said another. "Very soothing. Appropriate after a week of midterms," offered a student.

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