Hidden away behind the new, massive Oakland Cathedral of Christ the Light is a “Healing Garden” for the victims of sexual abuse by priests. I knew it was there because I’d read about it when the cathedral was opened to the public, but had a hard time finding it.
I was having a stressful day at my office, which is just across the street from the cathedral, and had gone looking for the garden at lunch. I thought that a few minutes in a healing garden would be restorative before tackling the afternoon’s work.
The “garden” is hidden away in a little corner behind the church, and consists of a small patio, about 10 feet in diameter, ringed by wooden benches arranged in a circle around what looks like a big cracked rock. The only greenery in the “garden” are some small hedges in cement planters that support the slatted benches.
The healing I found in the garden came from sunshine and sketching, not from sitting next to the huge concrete cathedral, on a hard wooden bench, gazing at what turned out to be a sculpture of a big cracked rock, not an actual rock.
The plaque on the bench: “This healing garden, planned by survivors, is dedicated to those innocents sexually abused by members of the clergy. We remember, and we affirm, NEVER AGAIN.”
The plaque beside the sculpture: “Some day, 11, 2000. Masatoshi Izumi. Basalt.”
I get that the sculpture might represent how hard, broken, and cracked apart the lives of the victims must be. What I don’t get is how this could be called a “Healing Garden.” Where’s the garden? Where’s the healing?
I hope that survivors who visit and are able to find the garden do find it a healing experience.
6 replies on “Healing Garden at Christ the Light Cathedral: Between a Rock and a Hard Place”
I agree with you. It sounds more like a memorial to the pain.
Yes, a memorial to pain is a good description…if we were designing it, obviously it would be much different.
Yes, that’s a perfect way to describe it, a memorial to paint. Sad. Jana
What a pity it isn’t a lovely place. The theme is of course very troublesome in society. Suva has a peace garden down behind the civic centre near the seawall. I posted about it on babasiga one time. A nice place set up by women of course! There ought to be more and more little gardens in every city and certainly in these awful new suburbs of lookalike houses!
It’s me again. And Geelong has a peace garden which the Dalai Llama visited it one time. Based around a gingko tree. Marvellous place in the middle of our Botanical Gardens.
That sounds a lot more healing than this rocky concrete spot. I love gingko trees — they’re so beautiful in the springtime. Jana