Public Access – Always Open
The Outdoor Labyrinth is located just off Arbot Rd to the west of the main entrance. It takes at least 30 minutes to mindfully walk the full labyrinth both in and out.
Why Walk a Labyrinth?
In labyrinths, whether ancient or modern, we walk in and we walk out. We coil and we uncoil. We do so both physically and spiritually. The body and the spirit experience an intentional, simultaneous outing. We walk a path one foot after another, and it is a path to the holy place inside us.
The American Cancer Society states that labyrinths “may be helpful as a complementary method to decrease stress and create a state of relaxation.” Labyrinths are thought to enhance right brain activity. Research studies conducted in a variety of settings consistently have shown that walking a labyrinth reduces stress.
Suggestions When You Take Your Journey
Take a moment to stand at the entrance of the labyrinth and become clear about your intentions for walking.
Perhaps 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 year or walk into your dreams and goals for the upcoming year.
As you walk, let your intention or question sink more deeply into your heart and soul with each step. Responses and intuitions may come in the form of words, feelings, awareness, images or just knowing.
Godden Finger Labyrinths
A Unique Collection!
While you are at the Centre, we invite you to explore Bill Godden’s finger labyrinths.
Bill Godden created over 3,000 finger labyrinths in his lifetime and we are pleased to house a collection which comprises some of his most amazing works.
The Godden finger labyrinths are located in the Centre’s main building. Please come and see us in the office before your visit.
All the labyrinths are created from recycled wood, and the variety and intricacy of both labyrinths and the wood itself have fascinated visitors, labyrinth facilitators and educators.
Bill has never charged for his labyrinths. Instead, he has donated them to hospices, retreat centres, schools and churches, as well as to practitioners who use them in facilitating events and retreats. His finger labyrinths are scattered in countries around the world including Peru, Chile, Mexico, Britain, Holland, the United States and Canada.
The Bethlehem Centre is honoured to be the home of this remarkable exhibit donated by Bill and Anne. The spirit of generosity behind Bill’s gift of so many labyrinths is one which characterizes both indoor and outdoor labyrinths and the people who walk them.
The Labyrinth at Bethlehem Centre
The labyrinth is the realization and dream of Sr Jill Aigner, director of the Centre from 1986 to 2003. It was constructed by staff and friends of Bethlehem Centre and is open for use by all who care to make this spiritual journey.
It is built on the pattern of the classical eleven-circuit Labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral.
This proportionally enlarged labyrinth has been constructed so that those who perhaps have difficulty walking, or use a cane, walker or wheelchair can more readily make their journey along with all who come to walk the labyrinth.
There are about 8300 stones overall and the distance is just over 2000 feet (.61 km) in each direction.
This labyrinth was started in late August 1998 when the ground was leveled, and then blessed by Bishop Remi De Roo. Dedication of the completed labyrinth was held on October 29, 1998 with a blessing by Bishop De Roo and a “walk” by those present.
We would like to gratefully acknowledge Phillip Pawlik who did the main construction of the labyrinth and Aubrey Hamilton who volunteered many hours mixing concrete for the stones. Judith Thomson of Mt Angel, Oregon purchased the “seed kit” (the patterns necessary) from Grace Cathedral in San Francisco as a gift for us. Making the labyrinth was a greater undertaking than we anticipated and we are happy to share it with the larger community of Nanaimo as well as those who specifically come to Bethlehem for a program.