Thursday, 8 December 2011

Maria Lanakila Labyrinth, Part 1


Lahaina is a bustling tourist town on the west coast of Maui, full of shops, restaurants and entertainment. But in bygone days when Hawai'ian royalty ruled the islands, Lahaina was the capital of Hawai'i. In the 1800s, the town and its harbour were central to the whaling industry. Christian missionaries flooded into Lahaina during that period as well.

One of the oldest churches in Lahaina is the Catholic church of Maria Lanakila, built by Belgian missionaries who arrived in the mid-1800s. "Maria Lanakila" means "Our Lady of Victory" in the Hawai'ian language.


The church contains a beautiful mosaic portrait of St. Damien, the Belgian missionary priest who in the 1870s-80s ministered to a large leper colony on the nearby island of Moloka'i . Living among the lepers, St. Damien eventually contracted the disease as well and died in the colony.


Beside Maria Lanakila is an old cemetery with many historic gravestones, including those of Hawai'ian royalty.



Behind the church and cemetery is the Sacred Heart School which was also founded by the Belgian missionaries. In a corner of the schoolyard, there is a full-size Chartres labyrinth painted on pavement under the welcome shade of several ancient monkey pod trees.


Tomorrow: walking the Maria Lanakila Labyrinth.

[All photos by Debra She Who Seeks]

13 comments:

laurie said...

ooo, this is good stuff, I am looking forward to rest of this story!

Snap said...

I'm really enjoying your Maui posts ... nice memories for me!

Jane said...

A most inviting labyrinth. That stained glass of St. Damien is lovely.

laughingwolf said...

nice history, thx deb :)

wv: pinta

[nina and santa maria to come?] lol

A Beer for the Shower said...

Beautiful place. Also, I love how the grave shows you the birth date, the death date, AND the age. Thanks for saving me from doing some subtraction, gravestone! You're a lifesaver!

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

Mele Kamekimaka

Francie said...

So beautiful!

Jeanne said...

I love the simplistic lines of the church. And I imagine the cemetery was most interesting to wander through - so much history!
Looking forward to tomorrow's post. :0)

danjor21 said...

I've walked a couple labyrinths before and both times I was like "Man I sure do wish this was in the shade!"

Lucky you! Looks like a beautiful place to be!

Jim said...

A little town full of lots of history and a permanent labyrinth!

Plowing Through Life said...

Such a pretty church. I look forward to hearing more about this. I love learning about popular tourist attractions. Makes me feel like I'm there.

Rebecca Dupree said...

Oh my gosh. Beautiful!

mxtodis123 said...

It's truly beautiful. Magical.
Mary