New labyrinth sets Spiders on a different path

January 23, 2024

Campus Life

A new labyrinth on campus provides an opportunity for visitors to center their thoughts as they walk through its rows of patterned stones.

“Walking the labyrinth is a spiritual practice that forces one to slow down and pay attention,” said University Chaplain Craig Kocher. “It is a meditative or prayerful process that provokes deep reflection on one’s life, one’s relationships with others, and the journey we find ourselves traveling.” 

Located in a secluded, shaded area behind the Cannon Chapel, the labyrinth first opened in August 2023. Plantings of trees, flowers, and hedges were added in the fall.

The labyrinth’s circular design leads visitors through a winding path that ends at a six-lobed rosette, a religious symbol dating back to antiquity. The continuous path moves through four quadrants. Unlike a maze, there are no dead ends.

The labyrinth is always open to individuals, classes, or other small groups who wish to follow its path. The chaplaincy incorporated the labyrinth in a student retreat in the fall and plans more outings in the spring.

“Labyrinths are a nice tool for introspection,” said senior Andrew Brady, a mathematics and computer science major. Brady first walked a labyrinth at Thomas the Apostle Retreat Center at a UR Chaplaincy trip to Cody, Wyoming, in 2022. “When I visit a new place, I'm excited when I find a labyrinth there.” 

The new addition — an existing labyrinth is located at the Well-Being Center — is designed to boost the overall wellness of our campus community, said Kocher, who is also the Jessie Ball duPont Chair of the Chaplaincy.

“I think people are surprised by the simplicity of the concept and the beauty of the setting,” Kocher said. “The labyrinth offers a way to go on a spiritual pilgrimage of sorts without having to leave campus.”