Sanctuaries for the Spirit

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I found the November 26-December 3 special issue on "Sacred Places" interesting and moving in its presentation of the diversity of spiritual beliefs, from the evolution of architecture in the United States ["The Changing House of Worship"] to the Bodhi Tree in India ["Seeking Nirvana Under a Tree"].

But as a home-schooled high school student interested in Ireland's ancient past, I was hoping to see a mention of Ireland's Tara Valley, which after 6,000 years is now threatened by construction of the M3 toll road. Located in County Meath, Tara was the most important sacred ritual site to the ancient tribes of Ireland and was later used as the traditional coronation site of pre-Christian kings. I found it ironic that similar sites mentioned in "Stonehenge's Modern Woes" are struggling and expected that at this point in history we would have learned to respect such things.

Heather B. Ennis

West Terre Haute, Ind.  

After reading "Legacy of Islam and Christianity," I promptly took out my pictures from my visit to the mezquita in Cordoba. The intricate architecture is something to behold, and photos do not do it justice. My memories are so vivid of that mosque. Another incredible place in Spain is the Valley of the Fallen, outside Madrid, where the spiritual site is carved into a mountainside. Thank you for making me drag out my photo album. The memories put a needed smile on my face!

Kelly Doktor

Westfield, Mass.  

I found your articles on "Sacred Places" of great interest and wish to share mine. Gazing out to the horizon from Dead Horse Point near Moab, Utah, one feels extremely small and in-significant. Looking across the Colorado River some 1,500 feet below, one sees the stratified rock layers, 150 million years or more in the making, carved for the on-looker's viewing by the river, the wind, and the weather. It takes one's breath away and puts today's events and concerns in a very wide perspective. It is all done in God's time!

Sister Mary K. Himens, S.S.C.M.

Champaign, Ill.  

The cover photo of the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro brought back a special memory. In 1972, I went to Brazil as a field engineer for a geophysical crew working near Belem on the Amazon. I had to fly to Rio and change planes for the trip to Belem. After a restless all-nighter and shortly after sunrise as we descended into Rio, I opened my sleepy eyes and suddenly woke up when I saw the Christ the Redeemer statue as we passed by it. Though your cover picture was taken from the opposite direction toward a setting sun, it still looks like the scene I remember.

Paul D. Davis

Garland, Texas  

I will never forget my first encounter with the temperate rain forests of the Pacific Northwest. I stood in awe before a grove of tall, stately trees with rays of sunshine filtering through the mist, falling quietly to the fern-carpeted floor of the forest. I felt I was in a great cathedral and imagined I could hear, in that silence, the distant chants of a choir singing praises to the Creator.

Roy Richards


The photograph of Ayers Rock in Australia accompanying "The Monolith Called Uluru" is fabulous. I have stood and looked at the rock in total awe and wonder. The photo used is the only one I have seen that comes close to capturing its splendor and mystery.

Jean McClintic


He left for college five years ago; the beginning of his independence from home. He is 24 now, a grad student at Lehigh. In a maternal way, I revere his room, which is a mess of boxes, old letters, and scattered books. It is not a shrine, but it is sacred. I see him there every day. Maybe it's the day I yelled at him, and he reluctantly let me back into his room while we both cried and then talked out our anger. Maybe it's an afternoon when he's playing music, talking on the phone, and doing homework all at the same time. Maybe it's a night I can hear his Dad's soft voice reading books to him. Maybe it's a Saturday morning and his younger brother has just jumped on his bed, causing yelling and a great chase throughout the house. He visits home now, not staying more than a day or two. He is leading a life that makes him happy, a dream all parents have for their children.

Rosanne Dippell

Malvern, Pa.