The Northeast Interfaith Peace Garden was planted on the grounds of St. Anthony of Padua Church in 2000. Since that time, the Garden has become a place of peace and healing for all who come to visit this sacred space. Over the years, the Garden has continued to grow, so that as you stroll through today, you’ll find flowering trees and shrubs that change with the seasons … a steppingstone footpath that winds its way through a perennial garden of lavender, yarrow, heather and other aromatic herbs and flowers … a lighted fountain and pool that provide the relaxing sound of bubbling water … teak benches that sit in light and shadow … journals where you can record your reflections, and read the inspirational thoughts of others who have come to the Garden. You’ll see and hear songbirds, bees, butterflies, rabbits, squirrels, hummingbirds. You may even be in the Garden with others like yourself who come to spend some time in this remarkable little space.
The Northeast Interfaith Peace Garden is open to all, with plenty of parking, and easy access by public transportation on the #44 MTA bus line. It’s located in the community of Gardenville in northeast Baltimore. The Garden welcomes people of all races and creeds to come and spend some quiet time in its atmosphere of peace and serenity.
A focal point within the Northeast Interfaith Peace Garden is a 43-foot labyrinth made of brick paving stones. For centuries, people of every creed and every culture have looked to the labyrinth as a symbol of the path we walk throughout our lives. Looking very much like a maze, the labyrinth twists and turns – but what a surprise the walker soon discovers! This walk is not a maze that confuses, but a single path that invites you to simply relax, walk, and follow … no puzzle-solving, no worries about getting lost in the maze … no anxiety, no distress … just walk this path, and relax in peace.
Some find walking the labyrinth is a way to pray. Others find that it’s a path of silent, walking meditation. Still others walk just to find a few moments of relaxation and peace in the midst of hurried, frenzied lives. Walk for whatever suits your purpose – but do come and enjoy this very special part of the Garden.
Brochures are always available that explain how to walk the labyrinth. And if you wish, a journal is also available where you can record the thoughts and feelings you experience in this Garden of peace and healing.
In 2008, another section of the Northeast Interfaith Peace Garden was opened. In addition to the labyrinth and meditation garden, you can now walk through the Sacred Writings Garden as well. This is a section of the Garden dedicated to interfaith understanding through highlighting some of the sacred writings of the world’s major religious traditions.
You will enter the Sacred Writings Garden by walking through a brick plaza that contains a peace pole – a hexagonal obelisk on which are written the words May Peace Prevail On Earth in sixteen different languages. This is one of 200,000 such peace poles that have been planted in 180 countries around the world since 1955. Our peace pole expresses the hope that all who visit this Garden will be one in working for universal peace.
A circular stone path winds through the Sacred Writings Garden. As you walk along this path, you will encounter five small gardens, individually dedicated to Christianity, Judaism, Islam, the Earth Religions, and the Eastern Religions. Each garden contains a plaque on which are written the words of scripture sacred to that religion. In each garden are planted flowers, herbs, and shrubs cited in these same sacred scriptures.
A final site along the path is the Garden of Forgiveness, a place where all are encouraged to pause and reflect on the importance of love and forgiveness in our lives.
Scattered throughout the Sacred Writings Garden are benches, steppingstones made by individuals participating in a community forgiveness project, an arbor, a peace dove, and tinkling monastic chimes. Fluttering overhead are streams of Tibetan Peace Flags on which are written prayers for peace and healing.
The Friends of the Northeast Interfaith Peace Garden are volunteers who promote the use of the labyrinth and gardens in the community through year-round programming and events.
This Sacred Place has been designated a Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.