Where To Pray
Our land offers many ways to find solitude, while listening and watching attentively to God’s creation. Take time on our land in the various sacred places. Slow down. Breathe. As you encounter these areas, take time with our “Guidelines for an Experience of Mt. Irenaeus” to aid you.
Holy Peace Chapel
Holy Peace Chapel, on the hill above our common house and cabins, offers us a place for morning and evening prayer and daily Eucharist. Our chapel is always open for private visits. We have a small library in the under story of our chapel, offering space for reading as well as two rest rooms.
A large stand of spruce that was first planted to be Christmas trees was partially cleared and harvested so that we might have a pond on the Mountain. “Sister water,” one of St. Francis’ favorites among all of the creatures, blesses us here with a place of quiet reflection and an opportunity to delight in wildlife that has found its home, both in the water and around the pond. In the summer months we enjoy swimming in this clean, fresh water pond as well as discovering it as an early morning or evening place for reflection and prayer.
The Labyrinth Garden was designed as a place of peace and can be found between the parking lot near the Chapel and the Chapel itself. A labyrinth is an ancient practice which allows a person to walk in silent meditation, entering into the center of life and returning through concentric circles as one makes this healing and reconciling walk of inner peace-making. In the center of this garden of circular paths is a large concrete disc containing in it stones and sand from various nations and shores, shaped into a “rose cross.” Under this concrete cover is a container, a “time capsule,” containing the names of all of our friends and benefactors who are honored and remembered here.
Naomi’s Knoll is found on a short trail rising above our Chapel and is a small, grass-covered prominence, opening to magnificent views out over hills and valleys far beyond “the Mountain.” We came upon this clearing early on and students took down small shrubs and trees, lending to the airiness of this space where people often come for quiet prayer, sitting on a bench or a group that has been on a walk, will gather for some reflection after some silence and a closing prayer. Named after Naomi Burton Stone, a good friend of Thomas Merton’s and ours and a benefactor of the Mountain, we remember her here, along with her friend Tom and others who invite us to find our contemplative hearts opening in the midst of all of creation.
We have miles of trails for guests to walk, pray and enjoy. They range in difficulty from gentle to mild to strenuous. Find maps in your cabin or the House of Peace.
Near the pond, a simple prayer shelter provides cover from the rain, heat or wind on our land. Take time in this space as creation speaks to you. Listen for God’s voice; see His work all around you. The shelter was constructed from trees from the land and dedicated to Charles “Chuck” Hurley, the brother of our late Fr. Dan Hurley, ofm.