October 20, 2015
By Mary Alice Maloney
On October 8, members of the Dominican community gathered on the northwest corner of campus, near the grotto, to partake in the blessing of the school’s brand new labyrinth.
A labyrinth, which is a flat entangled path that has only one way in and out, has been historically used as a tool for relaxation and contemplation. The web-like structure of a labyrinth allows relaxation-seekers to walk the winding path until they reach the center; utilizing the journey to exercise whatever meditative methods they wish. The design of the new labyrinth on campus is inspired by the labyrinth on the floor of the cathedral in Chartres, France.
After the blessing of Dominican’s new labyrinth, the first person to walk it was Professor Dianne Costanzo. Professor Costanzo and her spouse Mary Komparda donated the funds required to purchase and construct the labyrinth. They invite students, faculty and staff to walk along its path and find peace.
Professor Costanzo teaches in the seminar program and has a master’s degree in spirituality and a Ph.D. in English literature.
“In addition to teaching here at Dominican, I also teach Aikido, a Japanese martial art, in which I am a fifth degree black belt,” said Costanzo. “I am also a spiritual director, so my interests all point toward the integration of body, mind, and spirit.”
In conjunction with her background in spirituality, Professor Costanzo’s inspiration for her donation of the labyrinth also stems from her own personal experiences.
“My spouse and I attended the blessing of the Grotto last year and we were touched by the beauty of this spot on campus,” said Costanzo. “We thought that the labyrinth would be a wonderful addition to campus, but the idea of having a labyrinth on campus has been the fruit of wanting to honor the need for all of us to make room for the sacred in our lives. The four pillars of Dominican life: prayer, study, community, and service are necessary to create women and men who are whole.”
When asked about her hopes for the labyrinth and how it will impact the Dominican community, Professor Costanzo said, “I hope people will use it to help them slow down and do some of their inner work. At the very least, it is a sign or sacramental that reminds us that we are people on the journey of discovering ourselves in relation to what we call holy. Perhaps the more we walk it the more we will understand that we are never alone.”