Heartfelt Sacred Spaces
by Janice LeMond, Companions on the Journey, Austin, Texas
A very early memory I have is of homes with the statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague. This little girl in the 1950’s did not wander into rooms without permission. From a doorway, I gazed in awe of the child Jesus dressed in a beautiful gown. These were my first memories of what my heart felt as a sacred space.
I was raised in a family of five children. When we prayed before meals or at bedtime around the bed, I don’t recall any thoughts of a sacred space. Fast forwarding to my own adulthood, I am a wife and mother of three. Looking back at the reverence given to the Nativity set at Christmas was probably the closest we came to a sacred space. With the busyness of life and raising a family, the awe of the sacred space was lost. In the early 1990’s I was invited to a Theresian meeting. At this first exposure there was an instant awe of sacred space and sacred presence. Soon I had been exposed to St. Thérèse:
“I understand that every flower created by Him is beautiful, that the brilliance of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not lesson the perfume of the violet or the sweet simplicity of the daisy. I understand that if all the lovely flowers wished to be roses, nature would no longer be enameled with lovely hues. And so it is in the world of souls, we are in Our Lord’s living garden.” (St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Story of a Soul)
I had never met such a group of women so in love with their faith. Together at the beach, in the garden, or around a table we created a space to worship. These women created sacred spaces through prayer, music, stories, poems, guided imagery, fragrance, flowers, laughter, and tears. These Ebbtide sisters are forever in my heart; they gave me the gift to look for Jesus’ presence and love in the beauty of daily life. Theresians provided me with the space to mature in my faith life.
Years passed and I retired with a relocation from Houston to Austin. I have found the Schoenstatt Shrine; it is a spectacular sacred space! Yet another blessing was to find many Theresian sisters here in Austin. As I continue to look for Jesus in my daily senior life, I would like to share a few lines from a poem by Joyce Rupp:
I walk with Caterpillar Feet . . . time and again. . .
Bless our lives with the integrity we long to embrace. . .
Bless those who work with us and live with patience. . .
Bless each day with challenges and hope-filled occasions
to dare to stay faithful in hope and love.
Show us. . . each in our own way, the messages we need to carry on.
May we continue to meet in prayer, in silences of the dawn and the dusk. . .
the beginning of star-light and the moon-filled nights that lie ahead.
In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen, so be it!