FOUNDER: The Reverend Dr. Lauren Artress
Lauren is the Founder of Veriditas. She is the author of: Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Tool (Putnam/Riverhead Books, New York),
The Sand Labyrinth Kit, (Tuttle Publishers) and The Sacred Path Companion: A Guide to Walking the Labyrinth to Heal and Transform (Riverhead, 2006).
Lauren is a priest of the Episcopal Church, and her home parish is Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, California. From 1986 to 1992, she served as Canon Pastor and then as Canon for Special Ministries until August 2004. In May of 2006, her rediscovery of the labyrinth was honored by Grace Cathedral and she was designated Honorary Canon, a lifetime title.
In 1991, while on a brief sabbatical, Lauren walked an informal taped labyrinth through the work of Jean Houston. The idea gestated for a few months and then she was compelled to go to Chartres Cathedral, where she moved the chairs and walked the medieval labyrinth. This courageous act has led to the rediscovery of the labyrinth. Lauren not only introduced the walking meditation back into the Christian tradition but also introduced the labyrinth back into Western culture. By December 1991, she had replicated the Medieval Eleven Circuit Labyrinth at Grace Cathedral beginning in canvas form. Due to the enormous response of people desiring to learn a walking meditation, the tapestry labyrinth was installed inside the Cathedral in 1994. The outdoor terrazzo labyrinth was installed in the Interfaith Meditation Garden in 1995. In 2007, Grace Cathedral installed a permanent limestone labyrinth in the floor to replace the tapestry labyrinth. Veriditas is storing the carpet until it can realize its vision of a retreat center where the tapestry labyrinth will once again have a home.
In 1995, Lauren created the non-profit Veriditas as a 501c3, with the initial vision of "peppering the planet with labyrinths". After successfully launching thousands of labyrinths in churches, hospitals, cathedrals, prisons, spas, community parks, hospices and other settings, a new mission for Veriditas emerged: To facilitate the transformation of the human spirit through offering the Labyrinth Experience.
Lauren travels worldwide offering workshops and lectures on the labyrinth, Hildegard of Bingen, Opening the Divine Imagination, Taking That Creative Leap ~ Navigating A Life Transition, and on other topics related to the spiritual journey and the mystical life. She creates large group experiences that nurture the connection between the human and divine such as Walking a Sacred Path held twice a year in Chartres Cathedral.
Lauren is a much sought after Keynote speaker, an Episcopal priest and licensed as a psychotherapist in the State of California. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Special Education from Ohio State University and a Master's of Education from Princeton Theological Seminary. She received her analytic training in Object Relations and Systems Theory at The Blanton-Peale Graduate Institute at The Institute of Religion and Health in New York City. Her Doctor of Ministry degree was granted in 1986 from Andover Newton Theological School in Boston Massachusetts in Pastoral Psychology.
Lauren is the Director of the Spiritual Direction program at Wisdom University. She is a Diplomate in the American Association for Pastoral Counselors and a Clinical Member in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists and a Marriage and Family Therapist in the State of California. She sits on the Editorial Board of Presence Magazine and is a Panelist for the On Faith series sponsored by Newsweek Magazine and the Washington Post.