St. Aidan's labyrinths in Alexandria

The labyrinth is under some old pines and other trees and thus gets lots of shade. Something planted nearby made the approach smell really pleasant.   

The labyrinth is under some old pines and other trees and thus gets lots of shade. Something planted nearby made the approach smell really pleasant.

  

St. Aidan's Episcopal Church in Alexandria, VA, has both a large outdoor labyrinth and a small indoor labyrinth painted on the floor at the back of the sanctuary.   The 40-foot outdoor labyrinth paths are rubber mulch (like playgrounds use) over ground cloth, with white stones outlining the path. As I walked, I felt the energy of many hands and much care that went into building it. The Worldwide Labyrinth Locator says it was completed September 2012.

I like the fact that benches are nearby, but not facing the labyrinth itself.

I like the fact that benches are nearby, but not facing the labyrinth itself.

The natural site is echoed inside the sanctuary where the walls are rough hewn wood. I almost missed the small labyrinth painted on the floor at the back, because it was covered with chairs. The St. Aidan's web site, though, has a wonderful photograph of a confirmation class meeting in the middle of this sacred space. 

 

Location:  

St. Aidan's Episcopal Church
8531 Riverside Road
Alexandria,  
VA 22308

http://www.staidansepiscopal.com

Franciscan Monastery catacombs and garden

You don't need to leave Washington to visit the Holy Land. The Franciscan Monastery near Catholic University has been a pilgrimage destination since the early 20th century. You can tour the church (with catacombs) and also visit the replicas of sites from the Holy Land in the monastery garden.

When you come onto the Monastery grounds, take the left-hand walkway look for the sign for "Visitors Entrance." Enter there, and follow the hallway to the left. You will end up in the Tour Lobby. To visit the catacombs, you must join a tour, which will last about an hour. The last tour of the day is at 3 p.m. The monastery requests a donation of $2, which you can place in a box at the end of the tour.

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You do not need to join a tour if you just want to look around the church and enjoy the gardens, which include replicas of several Holy Land sites and the Grotto of Lourdes. 

The monastery is located at 1400 Quincy Street, NE, Washington, DC, a ten-minute walk from Brookland/CUA Metro Station. There is a parking lot, as well as on-street parking in the neighborhood.

A map of the monastery church and grounds is available in PDF format by clicking here

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National Museum of the American Indian grounds

The grounds of the National Museum of the American Indian abound with special places created with sacred intention, including four boulders transported from the four cardinal points of the Western Hemisphere and placed in corresponding positions around the museum. The quiet space pictured below, on the north side of the museum, is adjacent to a pond that has developed its own ecosystem, just a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol. At dusk, you may be lucky enough to see the family of ducklings making their way toward dinner. 

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Also worth seeing (besides the museum artifacts themselves), the Potomac Rotunda on the ground floor of the museum is frequently used as ceremonial space.


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