By CVT Intern Joseph Walker
“The Garden of Healing at the Center for Victims of Torture symbolizes our mission: hope, healing and renewal,” says Holly Ziemer, CVT’s Director of Communications. “Plants, like people, go through cycles that present challenges and opportunities. Summer offers a time for rebirth and renewal, while winter is a time of rest and reflection.”
The Garden serves as a metaphor for the healing process: like the flowers of the Garden, clients persevere through difficult experiences to bloom once again.
The Garden of Healing originated at CVT’s Minneapolis location. A newspaper article about the organization caught the attention of two professional garden designers, who volunteered to engineer the project; a local Boy Scout troop supplied the labor. Soon thereafter, CVT started a garden tour as a promotion and fundraising event. The garden tour became tremendously popular thanks in large part to local garden enthusiast Nancy Foy, who organized the event for nearly a decade. Sadly, Nancy passed away in 2002. A commemorative rock honoring her is displayed prominently in the Garden of Healing at the St. Paul Healing Center, opened in 2004.
The Garden offers clients the opportunity to experience the healing power of nature in the process of recovering from the debilitating effects of torture. Maintained by volunteers, the Garden of Healing offers a consistently quiet, calm place for visitors to reflect on their experiences, past and present, or simply enjoy the moment and the beauty of nature. The Garden contains plants specifically chosen for their calming, soothing properties, as well as interesting artwork and welcoming furniture. These elements of the Garden make it a place of quiet and peace where visitors are encouraged to relax, think, pray, or simply be still. A path winds through the Garden, allowing visitors to wander among the plants if they choose. If wandering is not an option, or if time for reflection and meditation is preferred, there are also areas for visitors to sit and enjoy their surroundings.
The Garden is open to visitors during CVT business hours and all are welcome to spend time there. Please take a moment to wander through on your next visit to CVT and enjoy what nature has to offer.