Stauffer study room being converted to prayer room

Room set to open by December exam period and serve as a place for self-reflection

The new prayer room at Stauffer Library.
The new prayer room at Stauffer Library.

Students looking to study on the second floor of Stauffer Library might have noticed something new about room 233 — it’s being converted into a meditation and prayer room.

Chaplain Kate Johnson said the former study room has been donated by the library to her office in order for it to be converted into a meditation room.

She said it’s important for students to have a space in the library where they can take a break from their studies to “leave their ‘tech’ devices, rest their head and feed their spirits”.

Johnson plans to furnish the room with meditation chairs and cushions, as well as multiple prayer mats, some artwork and a small library of books about meditation from a variety of religious and cultural traditions. The room’s artwork won’t feature any religious symbols or themes so that all students, regardless of religious tradition, can feel comfortable, she added.

The initiative to create a space for prayer and meditation was inspired by students who spoke to her about a lack of space for worship and spiritual reflection.

“There used to be a lot of this kind of space around campus and it’s over time been turned into meeting rooms,” Johnson said.

Currently, the Morgan Memorial Chapel in Theological Hall and the multi-faith prayer room in Goodes Hall are the only spaces on campus for religious worship. Johnson said she’s also working to make a space like the one in Stauffer on West Campus.

She said she hopes all students will feel comfortable in the space, adding that there will be no organized programs in the room. Rather, she said it’s meant for students to focus on “self-reflection”.

She added that she hopes the room will be furnished as soon as possible, preferably in time for the end-of-term exams, when students are in the library for long hours.

Some student religious groups on campus reacted positively to Johnson’s initiative.

Nika Farhani, president of Queen’s University Campus Association for Baha’i Students (CABS), said the Chaplain’s Office hadn’t reached out to CABS about the room, but that it’s a “great initiative”.

Farhani, a second-year Faculty of Law student, said she’s excited that along with conversations of mental health, the University is making an effort to “make a space for spiritual health”.

Elana Moscoe, president of Queen’s Hillel, said Hillel is looking forward to sharing the space with the Queen’s community.

“It is wonderful that Queen's is taking even more steps to make students of all backgrounds feel comfortable and accommodated on campus,” Moscoe, ArtSci ’15, told the Journal via email.

“We are grateful for the space and we look forward to being able to share it with the rest of the Queen's community.”

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