Research Director Participates in “Sacred Space in a Secular Nation of Believers”

Harvard University

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

On October 25 & 26, research director Ellie Pierce participated in a Radcliffe Seminar, “Sacred Space in a Secular Nation of Believers.” The seminar explored sacred space in healthcare contexts, the military, and higher education. Sessions focused on specific cases, including the Ulfelder Healing Garden at Massachusetts General Hospital, one of three spaces at the hospital – in addition to the masjid and chapel – set aside for prayer and/or reflection; the Tufts University Interfaith Center, home to the Muslim, Protestant, and Catholic chaplains, and is used by a range of student religious groups; and the U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel, designed with separate chapels for the Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant faiths. Today, the Cadet Chapel also houses an “all faiths room,” a newer Buddhist chapel (“the Vast Dharma Refuge Hall”), and, the most recent addition, a dedicated space near the building for Earth-Centered Spirituality, known as “Falcon Circle.” This engaging multidisciplinary seminar was organized by Wendy Cadge from Brandeis University, Alice Friedman from Wellesley College, and Karla Johnson, from the architectural firm Johnson Roberts Associates.