By MaKenzie Copp ′20, double majoring in English and Writing and Publishing
The Saint Joseph’s College campus has been recently augmented by the construction of the College’s newest feature, a beautifully woven outdoor labyrinth set off of the quiet walking path that takes you down to Sebago Lake. The labyrinth, Julie’s Path, is named for Julie A. Lentz, a young woman who, before her premature death, graduated with high honors from St. Mary's of Notre Dame, majoring in Biochemistry. Julie exemplified— through her faith, devoted spiritual journey, commitment to social justice, environmental consciousness, and life full of joy— the values instilled into all students who attend Saint Joseph’s College.
Julie showed others how to walk with God, and so the site serves, in her memory, as a meditative spot for students, staff, and community members. The winding path to the center of the circle represents a journey of faith, reflecting Catherine McAuley's conviction that life is a journey toward God. The path is set under a swooshing sky of foliage, made even more breathtaking this time of year by fall’s fiery ignition of the trees all over campus. The path is secluded from the hustle and bustle of daily college life, set into the comfort of the woods, but is close enough to the lake to feel watery breezes, and hear the faint crashing of waves on windy days.
Labyrinth walking, although new to us here at Saint Joe’s, is an ancient form of meditation. This focused walking meditation allows one to let go of the burdens and worries of life, find comfort and peace, and search one's soul for answers, all while strolling among the beauty of God’s creation. The new labyrinth at SJC serves as a form of spiritual pilgrimage, allowing one to walk the circuitous path to its center, pause for reflection, and follow the path back to where he or she began their journey.
At the entrance of the labyrinth, you should reflect, or state your purpose, and as you begin to walk, you should find your own rhythm, connecting to God and to nature. When you reach the center of the circle, pause to meditate on your journey, be still, breathe deeply, and listen closely for the answers you seek. As you walk back out of the labyrinth, reflect on your experience, and when you reach the end, return back to the world at peace.
This new labyrinth was generously donated by Julie's sister and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Saint Joseph’s College, Dr. Meredith Tipton, and her husband, Dan. Julie's memory is well suited to the culture and sense of place of SJC, and to the spiritual journey and self searching that this labyrinth is sure to provide. It is her family's honor to welcome all to Julie's Path to find peace, inspiration, and answers.
The Labyrinth Company. “About Labyrinths.” The Labyrinth Company, The Labyrinth Company, https://www.labyrinthcompany.com/pages/about-labyrinths.