Day 13 of Advent: Sacred Spaces and Peaceful Places

Many years ago, I stumbled across a book called, The Spiritual Traveler New York City:  The Guide to Sacred Spaces and Peaceful Places by Edward F. Bergman.  At the time, I lived across the river in Hoboken, NJ and the thought of being a spiritual traveler in the city I love, NYC was really motivating.  I picked up the book recently and while the binding is broken, it is thumb-nailed, torn, contains notes and post-it notes, and coffee stains, it remains one of my treasured books.

You see, I have a bit of Wanderlust, “I have not been everywhere, but it is on my list” type of traveling/exploring/discovering ingrained in my soul Wanderlust.  Having moved back to the NYC area in 2001, I really needed to rediscover my city and see it with a new set of eyes.  That is exactly when I discovered this treasure of a book.  Could it be that a city as vibrant, frenetic, and busy as NYC have Sacred Spaces and Peaceful Places? I needed to explore and find these Sacred Spaces and Peaceful Places.  

I have not visited every place Bergman identified in this book, but I have been to many that have evoked spiritual reflection, renewal and community.  I worship at one house of worship identified, Marble Collegiate Church.  I explored Fort Tryon Park and the Cloisters during the peak of fall colors.   I hopped the Staten Island Ferry to explore Snug Harbor in the Livingston section of Staten Island.  There is a Butterfly Garden in Manhattan that is extraordinary.  If Bergman wrote the guide today, he surely would have included a few more spots:  the FDR Four Freedom Park, Governor’s Island and the 9/11 Memorial.

This Advent Blog has members from all over the USA, from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to Virginia, Louisiana, California, and Minnesota.  And we have visitors on a typical day in Advent from Canada and Spain too.   Could we take the criteria from Sacred Spaces and Peaceful Places and find places where we live to inspire us, to find peace?  

The Specific Places that are Sacred Spaces and Peaceful Places could be:

  1.  Houses of Worship
  2.  Spirituality Centers
  3.  Natural Sites
  4.  Historical Sites that Lead the Visitor Towards Spiritual Reflection
  5.  Native American Sites

I know you have a few places in mind or that you have heard of to add to your list to explore and get you into a peaceful place.  As I travel the coasts of CT, MA, and RI over the course of my weeks, I have found places along the way to escape from the inevitable traffic on I-95 and may just some day write a book about the Sacred Spaces and Peaceful Places along the way.

You may need to refuel the soul during Advent, why not visit one of the Sacred Spaces and Peaceful Places you have identified in your area?  Pray, sing, explore, reflect, walk, retreat, and gather with others at the Sacred Spaces and Peaceful Places.  

Shared by Marcie Doll

3 responses to “Day 13 of Advent: Sacred Spaces and Peaceful Places”

  1. This is wonderful, Marcie. You have such a gift for writing and inspiring others! One of the lesser known special places in New York is the Irish Hunger Memorial, just west of the World Trade Center Memorial. It’s a block of landscape from Ireland, which rises up from the street and even contains the ruins of a real Irish cottage. Underneath this landscape is a memorial to all victims of hunger worldwide, which plays quotes from world leaders on the problems of hunger and the need for compassion. It is quite moving, yet also a place of contemplation.

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