What is a labyrinth? A labyrinth is a single path structure for personal, psychological and spiritual transformation. It is not a maze and never meant to confuse. There is one way in and one way out, much like birth and death. The goal of the labyrinth is the meditative journey from the outside world to the center (to God) and from the center, back out into the world. Many times there are several people walking the labyrinth at different paces and so you will encounter your fellow “pilgrim” as you go about your personal journey.
The Labyrinth on the floor at St. Edward’s is a unique architectural landmark with an interesting history. Labyrinths have on various occasions been used in Christian tradition as a part of worship. The earliest known example is from a fourth-century pavement at the Basilica of St. Reparatus, at Orleansville, Algeria, with the words “Sancta Eclesia” at the center, though it is unclear how it might have been used in worship. In medieval times, around 1000 AD, labyrinths began to appear on church walls and floors. The most famous medieval labyrinth, with great influence on later practice, was created in Chartres Cathedral.
The use of labyrinths has recently been revived in some contexts of Christian worship. Many churches in Europe and North America have constructed permanent labyrinths, or employ temporary ones.
Today, we use the labyrinth as a tool to encounter God in a new way. By using our bodies and intentionally walking while we pray, as well as giving ourselves time to sit in silence in the center, we become more open to God through this type of prayer. We encourage those of you that are interested in focusing on God’s presence to experience the labyrinth.