Boston College to Honor Alumni Victims of 9-11 With Labyrinth Dedication
Boston College will pay tribute to the twenty-two alumni killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11 with the dedication of a memorial labyrinth on the lawn of Burns Library on Thursday, September 11, 2003.
The labyrinth dedication, which will begin at noon, will include reflections by University President William P. Leahy, SJ, the blessing of the labyrinth, and musical selections by student groups from Campus Ministry and the Voices of Imani.
Inspired by the labyrinth on the floor of the Cathedral of Chatres in France, the labyrinth will honor the victims of September 11 by providing a permanent memorial at Boston College within a space designated for prayer, reflection and meditation.
The names of the twenty-two alumni, which will be read at the dedication by Boston College students, are inscribed in stones along the labyrinth's outer ring. [Emphasis mine.] The ceremony is open to all members of the Boston College community.
For more information, please refer to this detail.
This was an email I received a short while ago, and I confess that it leaves me with some very mixed feelings. While I appreciate the gesture to the family and friends of the victims, and while I genuinely like the idea of there being a labyrinth on campus, I'm not certain that the two should be joined.
I think the thing I find most jarring is the inscription of the victims' names on the labyrinth's outer ring. The labyrinth, symbolic of one's journey through life is here inscribed with the names of those whose journey was cut short. It seems that the inclusion of the names cannot but make this place one of infinite sorrow. This path of reflection turned from the contemplation of the Divine to be found in one's self to the contemplation of the death of these 22 people. What alchemy awaits you at the center?
I suppose on some level, it could be seen as a reminder of just how transient and fragile that journey can be. It could become not unlike Kali, who on one level serves as a reminder to truly live every moment because ultimately, death awaits us all. I feel like this is reaching, though. Kali has a terrifying aspect, and labyrinths can be home to minotaurs.
The word I keep coming to as I think of this is lost. That they are lost to the world certainly fits with the intent of the makers, but there's some other sense that lurks, perhaps more primal, that makes the hair on my neck stand up. Were I to ascribe to the Christian mythos, I would most certainly start thinking about how the paths laid out for the deceased should not be circuitous or suggest repentance or do anything other than speed them on their way. The place would feel like it was designed to keep the victims here, like it was haunted somehow.
I don't know really. I'd like to hear what you think.
...and sorry for the ubiquitous 9/11 post.