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Memorial Labyrinth

for alumni lost on 9/11

graphic of labyrinth design from above

On September 11, 2003, a memorial labyrinth was dedicated to the 22 Boston College alumni lost in the 9/11 tragedy.

This labyrinth is a copy of the 13th-century labyrinth laid in stone on the floor of the nave of Chartres Cathedral. Labyrinths were common in Europe in the Middle Ages, and walking them was part of popular and religious culture. Labyrinths in sacred spaces represented the intersection of the human and the divine. This is a unicursal labyrinth, with a single path to the center and out again.

The symbolism of the Chartres labyrinth is complex. The circle, a perfect form, can be seen as symbolizing eternity, the universe, the repetition of the seasons, the cosmos—the overall perfect plan of the divine. The cross that bisects the circle can be seen as a symbol for Christ in the world. The meandering path is the journey of life. It can also be seen as a path of truth through the maze of choices that the world presents.

The path through the labyrinth constitutes the longest possible way to arrive at the center. It is important not to hurry the experience, but to submit to its structure and discipline.

Pass others by stepping to the side and around them. Similarly, step around others walking in the opposite direction.

This path is an opportunity for meditation. Walk its circuitous route mindfully. It is a symbol of the universe, God's masterpiece.

They that hope in the Lord will renew their stength, they will soar as with eagles' wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint. Isaiah 40:31
a child walking the labyrinth


The History of the Labyrinth of the Cathedral of Chartres

A Guide to the Labyrinth

Map and Directions



View a video of the dedication ceremony

Read dedication remarks by William P. Leahy, SJ

View a slideshow from the dedication ceremony
(requires Flash Player)

View a slideshow of the labyrinth construction
(requires Flash Player)

Read the press release about the dedication 




Read about the Boston College alumni lost on 9/11


Boston College students remember 9/11

View a slideshow of the Wall of Remembrance created by Boston College students 9/11/02 (requires Flash Player)