Just when you think the New Age movement has faded into 1980s oblivion, you learn something like this.The Sinsinawa Dominicans is a women’s order located in southwest Wisconsin, just across the Mississippi River from Dubuque, Iowa. Its Sinsinawa Mound Center includes a 750-seat auditorium, retreat facilities, meeting rooms that hold up to 400, and walking trails.The order sports not one but two labyrinths:”The labyrinth is an ancient spiritual tool, founded as early as 200 B.C.E. Its history includes use in Crete, Tibet, Greece, Celtic spirituality, early European art, and in the Christian tradition. It is a spiritual tool and an effective metaphor for life’s journey for believers of all traditions.””The indoor labyrinth is available for walking most days.” The outdoor labyrinth “consists of 6,000 limestone bricks placed end-to-end to form a perfectly round circle encompassing the symmetrical path walkways to the center. Walking the quadrants in this peaceful atmosphere among the natural surroundings enhances one’s meditation experience, usually exceeding expectations of the labyrinth.”(How appropriate that the Sinsinawa Dominicans were unable to bring themselves to use “B.C.” Too overtly Christian, I guess.)
When the Cathedral Parish went on our bus pilgrimage to sites associated with Venerable Samuel Mazzuchelli, OP, our trip to the motherhouse of this order of Sisters that he founded was preceded by a video about Sinsinawa Mound. I laughed out loud when they featured not only a big outdoor labyrinth but even a room size indoor one!
Imagine you are on a pilgrimage with your sisters in leadership. Let the Labyrinth be contemporary religious life in the US. As you begin your walk you become aware of the complexity of this world. You realize that the path you travel reflects the many social, political and religious movements that have influenced religious life these past forty years. You walk the ground shaped by feminist thought, the teachings of Vatican II, justice, peace, and ecological concerns, liberation theology, the new cosmology, modernity, and post-modernity, etc. Like the air you breathe you may not always be conscious of these forces but they are the context of religious life today.[…]At a certain point, you begin the journey outward from the center. Changed by your experience at the center you begin to feel the ground differently. You sense that the insights and energy of the emergent is challenging and reshaping these Labyrinthine ways. As you encounter members and associates you engage them sharing your instincts about the future. Together you enter in contemplative space and dialogue about the future. As the future is shaped some will continue the journey outward, others will need to continue walking toward the center. As leaders you are responsible for the common good and so you make sure the path to the center is safe and secure. You invite those walking toward the center [ie, those who continue to follow Jesus?] to care for each other and provide the necessary resources [ie, an incredibly patronizing view of the superiority of the one on the post-Christian path, as benevolent carer for Christian disciples?].