On a flight home from Los Angeles last year, I sat next to a young professor of landscape architecture who had just visited the city’s new Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. We discussed sacred architecture all the way to the East Coast, and he encouraged me to see the cathedral when I could. On my latest trip to Los Angeles I had a free day and decided to take my prayers to Our Lady of the Angels.
My prayers consisted of motherly things—intense and helpless worry, guarded gratitude, and concerns about my own work. I know I can pray at my desk, or in the convent chapel, or in my own garden with a cup of tea. But architecture shapes prayer and opens you to new ways of seeing and listening. It’s easier to pray in prayed-in places. I know I can expect to be changed in a sacred place.
Suzanne Guthrie, a writer and Episcopal priest, creates a weekly lectionary retreat on her website, At the Edge of the Enclosure. She lives with the sisters of the Community of the Holy Spirit on their farm in Brewster, New York.