MOOSE JAW, Sask. — As part of the call to greater prayer in Lent, the students of Vanier Collegiate in Moose Jaw created mandalas which now hang in the school as a reminder of the varied and beautiful ways in which our relationship with God can grow.
At Vanier Collegiate, all students take Christian Ethics at the same time. The project began with one Grade 12 class that wanted to give students a different experience of prayer. Teachers were asked to invite their students to listen to meditative music while quietly colouring a mandala design chosen from 16 possibilities. Teachers were hesitant when they picked up their kits, but all returned with but positive comments.
“It was great — they were so focused. They were shushing each other! And they want to do it again.” Staff members who were not part of classes were also invited to participate.
Each student’s mandala became part of a class mandala, and all the class mandalas became part of a huge school mandala (eight feet in diameter) during a school liturgy. The liturgy also featured a game show quiz on prayers of different faiths, jokes (God can be fun) and balloons (with prayers inside) that students popped at the end of the celebration.
Cookies iced like the mandalas were distributed to students as a reminder that prayer can be nourishing and sweet.
One student commented after the celebration, “It was the first liturgy where I didn’t want it to end.”
The school mandala hangs in the hallway at Vanier, reflecting the varied and unique places in which each person finds her or himself along their own spiritual path. The unfinished mandalas reflect the ongoing nature of prayer and relationship.
A further explanation is centred in the middle of the school mandala: “Together, these mandalas represent the power and the beauty of prayer. Each mandala not only enriches its creator, but has a ripple effect in the community around us, bringing harmony and joy to those who lives are touched. Multiplied and joined our voices become stronger. They change the world with their beauty. So it is with prayer.”
Yeager, whose class conceived and organized the mandala project, was thrilled with the results within among her students. “They have grown so much through this project, as a team and as individuals. From the beginning, their focus was how they could bring a different experience of prayer to others, and they were not only successful in doing this, but they created something incredibly beautiful.”