In 1998 I spearheaded a labyrinth building project at Medaille House Retreat Centre in London, Ontario. A 60′ diametre labyrinth based on the classical 11 circuit Chartres Cathedral design.
What prompted my memory of this event was finding this cardboard template tucked away in my storage room. Before tossing this in the recycling bin I wanted to document the story of this labyrinth. Because it’s now gone and so is the retreat house.
The Sister’s of St Joseph in London ran a beautiful retreat house with acres of forest on the north bank of the Thames River. Many times during the 1990’s the house and the wisdom of the Sisters had been a refuge for me.
They desired to add a labyrinth to their park-like grounds as a walking meditation tool for their retreatants.
Laying out the pattern was an entire day’s work with the help of a few of the sisters. We decided to orientate the labyrinth so when you entered beside a huge old tree stump you would be facing west. A small tree would be in the very centre.
A few months later the painted pattern was covered with river rocks. It lasted for many years until the Sisters decided to decommission it because they were creating a new structure on the lot. They opened a new retreat centre and built a beautiful brick labyrinth in the new location. It has also subsequently closed as well.
I am indebted to Sandi Spaulding for her photographic archive of this labyrinth.
For more information about labyrinths check out The Labyrinth Society.
Have you ever walked a labyrinth?