The Franciscan Renewal Center (“The Casa”) is one of my favorite places in the Phoenix area. It’s a “center for the experience of spiritual growth which transforms and moves us beyond ourselves in the service of others.” Although they are a Catholic community, they are welcoming to all in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. They are located on 25 acres of beautiful desert, surrounded by mountains. The grounds are open to anyone.
I spent a couple of hours there this afternoon and despite the 108 degree temperatures, it was peaceful, as always.
One of the most interesting things at The Casa is the labyrinth.
Labyrinths have existed since prehistory. They can be thought of as symbolic forms of pilgrimage; people can walk the path, ascending toward salvation or enlightenment. In earlier times, many people could not afford to travel to holy sites and lands, so labyrinths and prayer substituted for such travel. Later, the religious significance of labyrinths faded, and they served primarily for entertainment, though recently their spiritual aspect has seen a resurgence (from Wikipedia).
Very primal, huh?
What a gorgeous setting!
Many newly made labyrinths exist today, in churches and parks. Labyrinths are used by modern mystics to help achieve a contemplative state. Walking among the turnings, one loses track of direction and of the outside world, and thus quiets the mind. The Labyrinth Society provides a locator for modern labyrinths all over the world (Wikipedia).
There is going to be a workshop on the labyrinth in October which I plan to attend.
I took a lot of photos at The Casa today so they will be appearing in my blog in the future. During the spring, winter, and fall, The Casa is especially beautiful as there are gardens all over so I’ll have to go back then.