Paths of Peace

Walkable Art to Soothe the Soul.

Consociate Lisa Gidlow Moriarty is one of only a handful of people across the U.S. working full-time as a labyrinth artist. Her portable and permanent labyrinths provide walkable, interactive art for contemplation, healing, prayer, problem solving, and conflict resolution.

Moriarty, who became a Consociate in 2009, has been interested in labyrinths since childhood. In the 1990s, after earning a fine arts degree in design, she attended a conference on using a labyrinth as a spiritual tool. “Combining art with spirituality piqued my interest,” she says. “I was also drawn to the labyrinth because it doesn’t have a specific connection to a doctrine or religion.”

Two weeks after the conference, she built her first labyrinth. “For me, it’s my way of doing social justice, to create places of beauty, calm, and non-violence,” Moriarty says. “The labyrinth is participatory art. You can experience the labyrinth in your own way. You can bring a prayer, walk with a challenge, or carry a rosary. You can do it alone or with others. It’s infinitely adaptable.”

Moriarty became involved with the CSJ community through leading workshops for Wisdom Ways and then by designing what she says was referred to as the “grandmother of labyrinths in the Twin Cities” on the site where Carondelet Village now sits. “It was intended just for a weekend spirituality program, but it was so well received that it continued to be mowed and maintained until Carondelet Village was built,” she says. “I decommissioned it then but mowed in a few more interim labyrinths because it was an important ministry for the Sisters and St. Kate’s students.”

Eventually, Moriarty designed a new permanent labyrinth on the extensive grassy area south of Carondelet
Center. The large, 11-circuit grass and paver, Chartres-style labyrinth was constructed with the support of dozens of talented volunteers.

Moriarty and her husband live on five acres north of downtown Stillwater where she has space for up to 15
labyrinths on the property. Her husband cuts the bricks for permanent installations. She provides expert
consultation, site visits, and full installation in both indoor and outdoor settings. She works with architects, landscape and interior designers, and construction engineers—as well as groups, schools, and individuals—on the design, materials, and installation for each unique creation.

Her portable labyrinths are used in myriad settings, and her permanent ones have found homes across the U.S. Every year, she offers a presentation for juniors at the Academy of Holy Angels High School (founded by the CSJs in 1931). She brings several portable labyrinths to the school and leads on average 150 students as part of her unique ministry. These portable labyrinths are also available to rent through Wisdom Ways.

She credits her work with the CSJ community for launching a deeply rewarding career. “I wouldn’t be here today without my work with Wisdom Ways and the Sisters,” she says. “This community launched and supported me in so many ways. I will always remember what one Sister said to me: ‘These labyrinths offer beauty to the world, and we need that, too.’”

“Combining art with spirituality piqued my interest.”