Moose Jaw school’s labyrinth a path to God

By  Danica Kindrachuk, Youth Speak News
  • October 25, 2006
MOOSE JAW, Sask. - A group of citizens from Moose Jaw is hard at work building a unique project at Vanier Collegiate, Moose Jaw’s only Catholic  high school. An outdoor stopping station labyrinth, a pathway that one follows while reflecting and stopping for prayer, is halfway through its construction phase.

“As far as I know, it is the only outdoor stopping station labyrinth in the world. It’s a great project and I love landscaping, so it is a perfect fit,” said Joan Stumborg, the Vanier Collegiate chaplain who developed the idea for the project in 2004.

A few years ago, she had set up an indoor labyrinth for the high school ethics classes.  One day a student remarked how she wished that a stopping station labyrinth like it could be outside, but admitted she didn’t know how it would work. This sent ideas flying through Stumborg’s head.

She wanted to provide a unique, guided meditation experience and help people of all faiths connect with God. She hopes the labyrinth will ultimately help youth and the greater community let go of busyness and embrace peace.

“It’s pretty neat,” said Shayla Froelich, a Grade 10 student at Vanier Collegiate. “I just wish it were finished. I think it’ll provide a new approach to prayer and it’ll be a different experience. I love to try new things and I’ve never walked a labyrinth before.”

Grade 10 student Brandon Purington agrees. “I think it’s something unique, new and it’s pretty nice too.”

There are 11 stations in total, each one devoted to a particular subject. The first five are about letting go, the sixth involves embracing peace and the final five entail information about living more fully and completely, with a sense of peace found in the labyrinth and in oneself.

The final product will include a path most likely made of either stamped concrete, paving brick or compacted crushed stone and will also be wheelchair accessible. Students from the area have created stepping stones with stained glass, which will be placed along the pathway.

After sending out brochures and promoting the wellness aspect of the project, funding streamed in from various agencies, businesses, organizations, the school division, parent advisory groups, individuals and estates throughout the community.  The major sponsor was Conexus Credit Union, which donated $10,000 toward the main sign that will be displayed when the project is finished.

Stumborg dreams of having thousands of people visit, but would be satisfied with hundreds. She believes that the news will spread by word of mouth and that it will increase tourism in the area as well.

When the labyrinth is completed, printed walking and CD guides will be created and made available to residents, tourists or anyone wishing to have a guided experience of the labyrinth. There is also a web site, www.labyrinthofpeace.ca, where the audio can be downloaded.

(Kindrachuk, 15, is a Grade 10 student at Vanier Collegiate in Moose Jaw.)

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