There are currently 14 natural sacred spaces at Regina RICA, not counting the SULOD and the Chapels. These are outdoor parks and gardens that offer a beautiful, natural setting for meditation and silencing.
When connected together, they comprise a Cosmic Walk – with each station highlighting an evolution of the Universe as a manifestation of the nature of God.
They are divided into three: pathways, gardens, and parks.A.Pathways
1.The Sacred Trail
Pilgrims, especially first timers, are always encouraged to pass through the Sacred Trail (S Trail since it is shaped like a letter S). It allows an authentic experience of sacrifice that is essential in the pilgrimage spirituality. The Sacred Trail is paved with pilgrim footprints and is lined with various species of flowers. The highest point of the first hill gives the pilgrims a breathtaking view of the RICA grounds below.
The most favorite among pilgrims for their Lenten obligations, the stations of the cross at RICA is unique for three reasons. The cross markers are white Absent-Presence Cross planted strategically around RICA. It is also a genuine experience of going up the hill to Calvary. And thirdly, it is under the loving gaze of Jesus in the arms of Mama Mary. Jesus sees your sacrifices.
The Labyrinth is an ancient form of pathway that is believed to be both a true representation of our life journey before finding our center; and the experience of the pilgrimage to the Holy Land. At the center of the labyrinth is a wooden cross where pilgrims offer their rosaries.
This short walk inside the forest is an experience of the joy of living among the trees. It is invigorating and good for the body and the soul.
B. Gardens and Gazebos
5. Mama Marys’ Garden
Recently opened, Mama Mary’s Garden is a beautiful landscape including a large I MAMA MARY marker.
The Sleeping Holy Family Gazebo near the Labyrinth at the back of Mama Mary is a place for families to be inspired by the peace and serenity of the Holy Family after the birth of Jesus. It is also a place where we can feel Christmas throughout the whole year.
7. SHHHH or the St. Hildegard Haven of Health and Healing.
St. Hildegard is the latest female saint declared as Doctor of the Church. She is a pioneer in a mystical form of living Christian life – one that is seeking true intimacy with God and oneness with nature. SHHH is paved with river stones and is best when barefooted. The herbs provide a healing scent. It also provides a serene and calm atmosphere.
The first structures constructed at RICA in 2009, the Kubol or the Three Tents are a representation of the Transfiguration Event in Mount Tabor. The tents of Jesus, Moses and Elijah are excellent places for group prayer and individual reflection. During the rainy season, it gives a good view of the waterfalls and the pond.
The Neneng’ pergola is in honor of Neneng, a friend of the foundress who donated to RICA by adopting a mango tree who was filled with termites. When it was adopted, the mango recovered and bore fruits. The Pergola is often hidden from view and is overlooking the waterfalls below.
10. Rotunda ni San Jose
The Statue of St Joseph waving at his wife and son serves as the centerpiece of this park. Benches are placed to allow pilgrims to rest and pray to St. Joseph.
The Laudato Si Park which is the centerpiece of the Forest Therapy Trail inside the woodlands features a giant statue of St. Francis de Assissi. It is best for nature therapy and tree hugging exercises. The Laudato Si Park is a beautiful reminder of our call to take care of our common home.
Created and inaugurated on the year 2021 on the occasion of the 500th Year of Christianity in the Philippines, the Santo Niño Park is a visual feast at night as it is glowing beside a waterfalls. Located below the RICA Retreat, this is best for silent meditations at day and also for bonfire and stargazing at night.
A circular park surrounding a water fountain inside a well serves as the centerpiece of the rotunda fronting the main chapel. Here prayers are poured from pilgrims who believe that their faith will make the water a healing instrument.
The statues of St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena, the pillars of a Dominican contemplative way of life, are the focus of this small prayer park.