Sacred Heart College has come up with an innovative way to practically allow students to symbolically let go of their worries and fears.
A labyrinth - maze-like circular walking paths intended for meditation – has been set up on the College’s top field.
It is believed to be the first of its kind at a school in Hawke’s Bay, and possibly the country, and was the brainchild of Mr Tom Silverwood, Director of Religious Studies.
Mr Silverwood originally had the idea after seeing it used at a Religious Studies conference and thought it would be perfect to have this year.
“At this time of year when the girls are a bit stressed and worried about exams and all sorts of things, it allows them to walk around, think about their worries and say a prayer.”
Unlike traditional labyrinths, this one incorporates rocks that symbolise their worries or burdens which students then drop in the middle. “The idea is that they walk away feeling light.”
Mr Silverwood said labyrinth’s date back to the Crusades when people could not travel to the Holy Land.
He says Covid-19 is a modern version.
“They built these labyrinths inside cathedrals in Europe so people could walk around them thinking of the spiritual journey that they couldn’t make physically but they could in their own place.”
“It’s not quite like the famous one, but it is our version,” Mr Silverwood said.
They held a blessing ceremony last month for the Labyrinth that Father Trung of the Catholic Parish of Hastings led.
Youth Minister Victoria Vo said that particularly this year, it is a good opportunity for the girls to let go of whatever they are holding onto.
“A lot of our girls hold onto a lot of things particularly outside of school and it tends to flow into their schooling, so it is nice to have something for them.”
While they do set time aside to pray with the students and do other activities, Ms Vo says “a lot of them are very visual and need to see or hold onto something.”
“It is also a great way to connect with their faith.”
While they had the idea and the vision for the labyrinth, they left it to the Spirit of Sacred Heart girls to design and decorate it.
Year 13 students Barbara Muagututia and Teleisia Vakapuna, members of Spirit of Sacred Heart, say it symbolises “new beginnings”.
“I reckon it’s nice to have because not all girls that come to this school are catholic so it opens our faith to others and gives them a glimpse of what us Catholic girls believe in and what we see,” Teleisia said.
They say it not only allows students to learn God’s “ways and teachings” but brings them together.
“We all release our stress in different ways and especially coming to the end of the year when it is particularly stressful, this is relaxing,” Barbara said.