March 2015


 

 Quick Links 

 Veriditas@20 Celebration
 Facilitator Spotlight: Cathy Rigali
 Donor Spotlight Collection
 Special offer from iSpiritual
 Global Healing Response
 Little Miracles on the Path
 Submit your stories
 



Dear Veriditas Community,


We're so excited to be planning our 20th anniversary celebration! Watch for registration to open soon for "Celebrating Veriditas @ 20" on August 14-15 in San Francisco. Consider booking your housing now. Click here for hotel suggestions in the vicinity of Grace Cathedral.

We will begin on Friday with a reception from 4:00 - 6:30pm and move into a labyrinth walk with Grace After Hours. Then we'll meet from (9:00 to 9:00 pm on Saturday at Grace Cathedral, moving from the past to the present, and on to the future of Veriditas, journeying through time together.

Plan to join us in community.
Many Blessings on the Path,







Facilitator Spotlight: Cathy Rigali

By Chris Farrow-Noble, Council Member

For our Facilitator Spotlight this month, we meet Cathy Rigali, who lives in South Hadley, Massachusetts and is a founding member of Labyrinth Connection of Western Massachusetts (LCWM).



Did you find the labyrinth or did it find you?
The labyrinth found me.  While I was employed at the Hampshire County Jail in Northampton as a Community Relations Coordinator, I received a flyer about a labyrinth walk at the Spiritual Center in Westfield.  I went to the event and fell in love with the process.  That was when I first met Lorry Villemaire, S.S.J.  (Sister of Saint Joseph), who led the labyrinth walk.  It was indeed the beginning of two significant relationships for me.  

Tell us about your responsibilities and the jail itself.
I came to the jail with a background of nursing and teaching.  In the position of community relations, I was able to bring complimentary programs to the incarcerated men.  These included art projects and exhibits, yoga, tai chi, reiki, creative writing, and meditation practices.  Hampshire County House of Corrections houses four levels of security: pre-release, minimum, medium, and maximum.  Population includes both male and female clients. However, the female clients are held only until trial and then transferred to other facilities to serve their sentence.  The men selected for our Labyrinth Program are enrolled in a Life Skills substance abuse treatment program.

How did you bring the labyrinth and the inmate programs together?
Shortly after my first walk with Lorry, I asked her, “Can you come to our jail?”  She came and brought in a canvas labyrinth and did some workshops with the inmates.   The men loved it.  We decided to continue and expand the program.   I asked the sheriff for permission to transport pre-release clients to an outdoor labyrinth.  He agreed and in fact joined us on this trip.  Lorry guided the men through the labyrinth.  Soon thereafter, the question arose,  “Why can’t we build a labyrinth at the jail?”  The sheriff quickly said “Yes.” to this request.  Hampshire County Jail is situated atop the gently rolling hills of western Massachusetts with beautiful surrounding vistas.  A perfect place for a labyrinth.

The project needed funding, and a unique collaboration was formed.  Kathy Callahan from the jail secured a very generous anonymous donation, which was used for materials.  Donna Zucker from UMASS Amherst obtained grant funding for the project.  She selected a UMASS graduate student, Patrick McGeough, to design and oversee construction of the labyrinth.  The inmates provided all the labor, including clearing of the field, laying of the stones, and installing the landscaping.  People from the community donated perennials and annuals for landscaping.  Northampton Community TV did the filming of our documentary.

What labyrinth programs do you offer the inmates?

Lorry originally designed a six-week curriculum.  At the request of the incarcerated men, this has now expanded to twelve weeks.  Topics include:  Positive Thinking, Inner Peace, Forgiveness, Self Esteem, Meditation, and more. The workshop process follows these steps:
  • The weekly topic is taught, i.e., forgiveness.
  • Participants are lead in a guided meditation with a focus on breathing.
  • The men walk the labyrinth.
  • After walking, clients write or draw about the experience in their journals.
  • A discussion follows, inviting the men to share anything they choose.
  • A closing blessing is offered at the center of the labyrinth.
 
A documentary of this work is available for viewing with the following link:  Pathway to Change:  The Jail Labyrinth Project.  It is available on DVD as well.  Lorry has also published a book, which includes the twelve-week curriculum.  The curriculum is universal and may be used with any group in leading a labyrinth walk. Both the DVD and book may be purchased by contacting Lorry at:  villemaire341@verizon.net.   All profits from this project are donated to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield, Massachusetts.

How did the Labyrinth Connection of Western Massachusetts get started and how does it work?
About six years ago, after our first venture working together with the prison program, Lorry contacted me about forming a local labyrinth group.  She had met with Rosann Scalise, who wanted to build a stone labyrinth at Camp Shepard for the Westfield YMCA.  Lorry and Rosann thought that other people in the area might be interested in the labyrinth.  We began with seven people and now have nearly 20 paid members from many towns, including Shelburne Falls, Amherst, Westfield, Brattleboro VT, and New York.  LCWM is growing, so we are now exploring the possibility of becoming a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  We meet monthly on the 2nd Thursday at 4 PM at Mont Marie Senior Residence in Holyoke, Massachusetts.  Each month we discuss ongoing projects and new endeavors.  We offer labyrinth education and programming throughout our state and have recently completed a program at a nursing home in New York. 

For example, Donna Zucker wrote a grant that funded both of us to become certified Veriditas Facilitators.   We completed the training in Ottawa, Canada with Lauren Artress.  Donna has been instrumental in bringing a labyrinth program to shelter residents and staff at the Long Island Shelter In Boston.  Donna has also brought the DVD of the Massachusetts jail program to the native people of Saskatchewan, Canada, where it was very well received. 

Lorry and I are writing a book on labyrinth rituals and are currently in the editing.  It will include topics such as Hope, Forgiveness, Birthdays, and Memorial Events.  All profits from book sales will be donated to the Sisters of Saint Joseph.   I have great love and respect for Lorry and the Sisters, and my highest priority is to get this two-year writing project published. None of us are getting any younger; Lorry will be 80 this year. Please visit our active website and blog: www.labyrinthconnection.org and plan to attend a meeting and/or event.



What dreams or visions do you have for your labyrinth work in the future?

I want to keep on doing labyrinth walks and keep up to date with the contacts extended to me through LinkedIn and other resources. Opportunities continue to come to our attention.   Lorry recently visited the Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital in Leeds, Massachusetts where they have funding and are planning to construct a labyrinth on their grounds.  Goshen, Massachusetts, home of Three Sisters Sanctuary, has an interest in putting in a labyrinth on their grounds.  The town of South Hadley has approached me about the possibility of installing a labyrinth.   I want to continue doing this work and bringing the labyrinth to wider circles of people. 

What is it that you love about them?
I am a person who has difficulty sitting still.   Meditation is difficult for me.  I find walking the labyrinth is a moving meditation.  When I need to work through a problem or make a decision, I’ll walk around a nearby lake.  The combination of walking and being in nature calms me and clears my mind. The labyrinth opens these doors for me.  I’ve also seen how the labyrinth calms children.   I especially enjoy combining music with the labyrinth. We have done several deeply touching walks set to the music of a live viola artist. 

I have indeed been a part of and witnessed what a small group of dedicated people can do.  They can make things happen, and it is happening here in Western Massachusetts.



“Never doubt that a small group
of thoughtful,
committed citizens
can change the world;

indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”


- Attributed to Margaret Mead


Donor Spotlight

by Rita Canning, Development Coordinator


Dear Readers,

As I was reading over some of the interviews that have been done for this column over the past 18 months, I was inspired to do a column that included some of the wonderful, inspiring comments  that were given in answer to the question “Why do you donate to Veriditas?”.  Here they are.  I hope they inspire you, also!

My volunteer work in the office made me realize that the office and the needs of the office are there all the time, and I wanted to be there all the time, too.  I couldn’t do that in person but by making a regular monthly financial gift, I could support the valuable work of Veriditas all the time.  

– Tina Margason

I believe that each of us needs a way to quiet our minds and open our hearts and I can’t think of a better tool than the labyrinth. It’s very important to me to spread as many labyrinths around as we can. 


– Judy Powell

It’s a way of acknowledging the profound work that Lauren is doing and all of you are doing in the Veriditas office. It’s my small way of being a part of that community. 


– Jay Newburgh

I donate because I think I really need the labyrinth and I want to make sure that it is there for everyone. 


– Diane Jones

I think we need more labyrinths on the planet, that they are very important. We need more people to hold the lantern and show the way to how the labyrinth works in the community and for peoples’ personal journey. Veriditas is the leader in the field
and is the best at it. 


– Emily Simpson

We need money to keep the doors open, and I want those doors to stay open for myself and for other people.  I’ve seen what the labyrinth can do for people, and I think that Veriditas provides labyrinth experiences in a unique and high quality way.  


– Lee Matthew


I donate out of thanksgiving for what I’ve received from Veriditas and its network. Veriditas helped me grow so hopefully my giving will allow others to have the same opportunity. 


– Kitty Caldwell



We are all God’s children and earth is His classroom. And the labyrinth is one of His tools that He likes to use the most. It’s worked so well for me that I just think that it’s something that needs to be taken all around the world, which it has been.


– Lisa Hilliard

I believe that Veriditas is a really important way to give people access to the holy and without people who are intentionally supporting and promoting this work, empowering
this work, it won’t happen.


– Rev. Karin Mitchell

This is what life is really all about – to put one foot in front of the other. Very simple.  And the labyrinth exemplifies that and
I love to promote it. 


– Claudia Miller

I donate so that Lauren and Veriditas can continue to fulfill the mission of expanding the global knowledge of the labyrinth.


– Pam Riggs

I know that all people seek the divine mystery in the world, looking for peace in life. The labyrinth offers
that to all people.


–  Brenda Wivell

I donate to Veriditas because
I truly believe that the labyrinth is part of the “spiritual awakening”
that is happening on our planet right now.  And Veriditas is there to
support and encourage
this movement.


Kathy Mansfield

These are quality people that are doing a great job of putting the labyrinth out in the world.
Veriditas is so valuable and
well run. I support it so that
it can continue to do its work. 


–  Mary Ellen Weber

I was so deeply moved from my experience at Chartres that week
that I made the decision then to
be a donor. I find it incredibly important work. With the unrest
in the world and the stress that
we all live with, I wholeheartedly support the Veriditas' mission and want to see this incredible ancient tool be reintroduced to the world.


– Kathleen Pilus


Deer Heart Labyrinth at Earthrise. Photo by Lars Howlett


Why do you contribute to Veriditas? Please share your thoughts with me: rita@veriditas.org.


Special Offer from our Product Partner, iSpiritual


Chartres finger labyrinth crafted in a red stained maple which really pops the contrast on the labyrinth. Comes with a Chartres tote bag.  Available for personalization. Engraving on the back of labyrinth.

The Red Maple is our Spring special and for Veriditas, I will offer it even lower with an extra 10% discount all you have to do is enter veriditas05 as a coupon.
on checkout.

To see more details and to order, click here.


 


Global Healing Response


The Global Healing Response, founded in 2005 by Council member Ellen Bintz Meuch, offers an annual theme and quarterly ideas and information to enrich labyrinth walks.

The GHR theme for 2015 is Restoration “All the beauty that’s been lost before wants to find us again” ― U2. The focus for this quarter is Reflection (Self and World). Quote: I believe that our society is merely a reflection of what is going on inside each and every one of us —Seal. By focusing on Reflection (Self and World) this quarter perhaps we will find strength and creative ideas for implementing Restoration. Thank you for joining us and creating a circle of global healing with the labyrinth! —Ellen Bintz Meuch

Take a look at GHR's beautiful new website: www.globalhealingresponse.com. We encourage you to visit the site soon and often.

Little Miracles on the Path


Each month, Linda Mikell, secretary to the Veriditas Council and New England Regional Representative, emails a Little Miracles on the Path story to 439 facilitators who have signed up for them. Facilitators from all over the world send her stories about interesting, touching events that happen at their labyrinth walks. If you would like to receive these stories, please contact Linda (edlinmik@optonline.net).

Please don’t forget to send your story when you have one. Little Miracles are archived on the Facilitators Portal of the Veriditas Website.


Has the Labyrinth changed your life? Tell us your story...


We are gathering your stories of how the labyrinth has changed you or your life. These stories will be shared on our website in the months leading up to our celebration, and in a book celebrating Veriditas' 20th Birthday. To submit your story for inclusion, please click here. Thank you for being a part of our Veriditas Family!



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Veriditas is dedicated to inspiring personal and planetary change and renewal through the labyrinth experience.

We accomplish our mission by training and supporting labyrinth facilitators around the world, and offering meaningful events that promote further understanding of the labyrinth as a tool for personal and community transformation. Our Vision is that the labyrinth experience guides us in developing the higher level of human awareness we need to thrive in the 21st century.

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