A Sacred Space for Contemplation and Learning
A Labyrinth offers a physical and spiritual experience. A journey to ourselves that each of us will experience in our own way. As we put one foot in front of the other, we follow a path that leads us to the center of our own being.
The Bethlehem Labyrinth is open to everyone and is located just off of Arbot Road, west of the Centre’s main entrance. We invite our Westwood neighbours, visitors, guests and the public to come…uncoil.
Labyrinths have been used for centuries as tools for both health and spiritual practice, offering various benefits to individuals who engage with them.
People use labyrinths for spiritual enlightenment and in response to everyday life situations and passages. Research studies conducted in a variety of settings consistently have shown that walking a labyrinth reduces stress. The labyrinth is walked for many different reasons, including
- Meditation and Contemplation
- Mindfulness and Presence
- Centering and Balance
- Symbolizim and Transformation
- Physical Exercise and Mental Health and Well-being
- Community and Connection
- Supporting Grief and Loss
As a path for healing, Labyrinths are seen in many hospices, hospitals, prisons and educational settings. There are currently approximately 150 to be found at post-secondary institutions where they are used for ceremonies and memorials, research and learning, creative studies, as well as the peaceful and contemplative aspects of walking a labyrinth.
How to Walk the Labyrinth
Take a moment to stand at the entrance and reflect on your intention. You might enter with a question, a statement, or an image; perhaps with prayers or meditation for a particular person or situation. You may want to reflect on the past or walk into your dreams and goals.
Keep your intention in your heart and soul with each step. Responses and intuitions may come in the form of words, feelings, awareness, images, or just knowing.
Reverend Lauren Artress. Canon of Special Ministries at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco proposes using the 3 R’s in walking a labyrinth:
Releasing (walking into the labyrinth): Letting go of distractions, quieting the mind, opening your heart;
Receiving (pausing in the center): Listening to guidance, being present, meditating, prayer;
Returning (walking out of the labyrinth): Reflecting, resolving, and integrating the experience.
Other than respecting others who are on the path along with you, there are no rules for walking the labyrinth.
Godden Finger Labyrinth Museum
We invite you to explore the Godden Finger Labyrinth Museum. Each unique finger labyrinth is a tool for mediation and reflection.
Bill Godden created over 3,000 finger labyrinths in his lifetime and we are pleased to house a collection of his amazing works, all of which have been donated to Bethlehem by Bill and his family. The labyrinths are all created from recycled wood, and the variety and intricacy of his patterns have fascinated visitors, labyrinth facilitators, and educators.
Bill was a man who was characterized by imagination, devotion and generosity. Imagination – because who else would have conceived this unique and ambitious plan? Devotion, because he worked away diligently despite challenges that came his way. And generosity, because he insisted that there was never a charge for his labyrinths and gave them freely to hospices, retreat centres, schools and churches, as well as to practitioners who use them in facilitating events and retreats in a variety of settings.
Bill’s finger labyrinths are scattered in countries around the world in countries including Peru, Chile, Mexico, Britain, Holland, the United States and Canada. The Bethlehem Centre is honoured to be the home of this remarkable exhibit.
The Godden finger labyrinths are located in the Oak Room in the Centre’s main building. Please come and see us in the office before your visit.
Discover the rich history of Bethlehem Centre’s Peace Pole, originating over 23 years ago in 1999 through the efforts of Marjorey Hope. A profound symbol of unity, compassion, and peace, our Peace Pole stands as one of Vancouver Island’s earliest, carrying immense significance for the local community.
The global journey of Peace Poles began in 1976 in Ishikawa, Japan, where peace advocate Masahisa Goi’s vision spurred a movement. Today, over 200,000 Peace Poles worldwide promote a universal message of peace.
Bethlehem Centre joined this movement as an early adopter on Vancouver Island, thanks to Marjorey Hope and the Benedictine Sisters’ dedication. The Peace Pole embodies local commitment to peace and unity, serving as a beacon of hope and a reminder of the power of nurturing peace within ourselves and our communities.
Filled with 1000 prayers since 1999, the Peace Pole reflects diverse aspirations for conflict-free, compassionate world. It’s a tribute to individuals like Marjorey Hope and a call to foster unity, understanding, and harmony.