Long-awaited labyrinth plans taking shape

CONEJOS — The nonprofit organization El Santuario de los Pobladores and parishioners of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, are moving along with plans for a worship canter.
Located next to the Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church — Colorado's oldest Catholic Parish, the planned labyrinth will blend heritage and the depth of faith.
The Diocese of Pueblo has provided a long term lease for the special purpose of creating a magnificent arts center, an adobe sanctuary, a spiritual journey through the only labyrinth in the world which embodies the Mysteries of the Rosary and bronze sculptures of the Spanish mission saints of this region and the Virgin of Guadalupe.
El Santuario de los Pobladores is an outdoor chapel and prayer labyrinth that represents the Mysteries of the Rosary and is to be constructed out of adobe, joining together the Faith and the Earth of Spanish colonial Colorado. The Rosary is made up of 20 "mysteries" (significant events or moments in the life of Jesus and Mary) and, in a similar way, the prayer labyrinth is divided into four sections, each containing five small meditation chapels designed to help focus prayers on the life, ministry and Passion of Jesus in the Catholic faith.
   The Santuario will encourage pilgrims to take a quiet meditative walk, a journey to the center of the complex structure, as well as to their own spiritual center, in a quiet journey of self-discovery. Bronze bas-relief sculptures of each Mystery bring the pilgrim into direct and intimate contact with the story of the life of Jesus.
   The structure, in the form of a labyrinth, was designed by Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello of the California studio of Rael San Fratello.
Their concept will be executed in adobe, the ancient earthen building technique brought to the San Luis Valley by the early settlers to this part of southern Colorado.
   Three renowned artists of the Valley will express in bronze the spiritual and religious heritage of El Santuario de los Pobladores, the sanctuary of the settlers.
   Work has long begun on what will eventually be 20 bas-relief bronzes, one for each of the Mysteries of the Rosary.  
In the gardens outside the labyrinth of El Santuario will be bronze sculptures depicting each of the mission saints, connecting people from far and wide to the faith which founded many villages and pueblos of the Conejos River , the Rio Grande and the Culebra River regions of this historic part of Colorado.


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