Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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McCarthyBobandMargeBob and Marge McCarthy

Honored May, 2019

Bob and Marge McCarthy

How much richer our community has become since 1994, when Bob and Marge McCarthy left the east to “retire” in Santa Fe.  In the 25 years they have lived here, they have not stopped volunteering, creating, lending their energy to schools, politics, museums, and the Labyrinth Resource Group.

Bob is passionate about Native American Cultures as demonstrated by his docent service to the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, his active volunteering for the Forest Service Indian Site Steward Program, and his assistance with the preservation and documentation of ancient rock art with the Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Program.  

Marge is a former school psychologist who began her retirement tutoring students in the Santa Fe Public Schools as well as assisting at Upaya, a local Buddhist center.

It was on a retreat in Sedona and then a pilgrimage to France’s Chartres Cathedral with Lauren Artress, the founder of Veriditas, the Worldwide Labyrinth Project, where their experience with the power and healing capacity of labyrinths began. 

In 1998 Marge founded the local Labyrinth Resource Group, an organization dedicated to designing public labyrinths and hosting monthly meditative walks. Since its inception the Labyrinth Resource Group has helped develop more than 40 labyrinths, at public schools, private homes and at well-traveled public spaces such as the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assissi and its first, at Milner Plaza on Museum Hill.

Marge wrote a book, Kids On The Path, providing a comprehensive guide to bringing labyrinths to schools. It includes a history, class activities for teachers, and guidance for children to build their own labyrinth. The book is sold both nationally and internationally.

As a spiritual tool, educators report that the labyrinth helps students calm down, focus, and make transitions more easily. The following comments from students reflects the value and positive impact it has on them:

“It makes you feel happy when you walk around it.”

“It helps you feel better when you are mad.”

“My dog died two weeks ago and I have been very upset.  After I walked the labyrinth, I realized my dog would live in my heart forever.”

“I thought about my grandma’s death.  I decided to think about the good parts of her life, rather than her suffering.  The labyrinth helped me find a way to forget about her suffering.”

“I figured out a way to talk to people to get their attention.  It is better to talk than to grab someone’s neck when they are bugging you.”

In 2006 the Labyrinth Resource Group, hosted a weekend workshop called “Walking Together: Being Different, Being One” which focused on how to bring Santa Fe’s tri-cultures closer together.

In 2003, Marge was recognized for her work with schools and labyrinths when she was a recipient of the Governor’s Outstanding Women in New Mexico award.

Together, Bob and Marge McCarthy are a dynamic force.  Friends say they are “genuinely real, always kind, thoughtful, giving, encouraging and in every endeavor, seeking the higher path.” They are beacons of light and hope and at 89 and 90, Bob and Marge have offered Santa Fe a new mode of community building—joyfully walking together as members of one community.


Story by Nancy Dahl

Photo © 2019 by Genevieve Russell