Women in recovery build prayer labyrinth

By Andrew Morgan
JACKSON – The residents of The McCoy House for Sober Living, led by director Denise Marsters, built a prayer labyrinth on their property in June.
The McCoy House is a private home which offers a transitional living space for women dealing with addictions of any kind. All the residents have completed inpatient rehabilitation programs. The house gives them a place to stay in preparation for independent living. Many of the residents have dealt with various degrees of trauma, neglect and abuse. Part of their recovery is separating themselves from the destructive behaviors of their past and finding new, positive ways to live. The residents are required to work or volunteer during their time at the house and attend regular meetings to support one another.
Marsters hopes that the labyrinth, in addition to all that is offered at the McCoy House, will help the ladies deal with whatever issue they are facing, providing a meditative, contemplative exercise for them.
“They can take any issue they have in their heart, anything on their mind, and they can take it into the labyrinth with them and leave it there at the foot of the cross in the center,” Marsters explained. “A labyrinth is not the same thing as a maze, where the goal is to get lost and find your way out. Our path is clear and easy to follow, and the end destination is found in the center. With the labyrinth, whoever walks it has a chance to lose themselves without ever losing the path in order to find themselves.”
The practice of walking labyrinths has existed for many centuries, prominently exercised in the Medieval Church. Many notable labyrinths are found in some of the most famous churches and cathedrals.
The McCoy House labyrinth is formed out of twelve interconnected circles that wind inwardly towards the cross in the center. It was constructed with bricks taken from a neighboring property of the McCoy House, known as the Mercy House, named for the contributions of Sister Mary Paulinus Oakes, R.S.M. The materials for the labyrinth were salvaged. The inspiration for the labyrinth came to Marsters, in fact, when she went to visit Sister Paulinus in her order house.
“When I visited Sister Paulinus in Michigan they had a fabulous labyrinth, and sister and I agreed that such an addition would be beneficial for the McCoy House ladies. I took the very same, basic design, drew it on paper, and brought it back the House.”
Perhaps what is most remarkable is that the labyrinth was built entirely by the ladies of the McCoy House.
“They laid every brick themselves and it really is a testament to each of them and what they have accomplished here at the McCoy House,” said Denise Marsters. “How soothing it is for our ladies to behold and interact with something they built. It’s beautiful, and has been an absolute success.”
Donations to the McCoy House for Sober Living can be made online at www.themccoyhouse.com. For more information contact Denise Marsters at info@themccoyhouse.com or 601-946-0578.
(Andrew Morgan is a rising sophomore at The Catholic University of America and a graduate of Madison St. Joseph School.)