On the Importance of Sanctuary


President and Mrs. Coolidge, with Mr. and Mrs. Edward Bok, as they look across the lake to the majestic, musical Tower beyond, February 1, 1929.

“These grounds which we are dedicating to-day are another extension of this rapidly developing movement: It has been designated as a sanctuary because within it people may temporarily escape from the pressure and affliction of the affairs of life and find that quiet and repose which comes from a closer communion with the beauties of nature. We have not secured the benefits which I have enumerated without being obliged to pay a price. The multiplicity and the swiftness of the events with which we are surrounded exhaust our nervous energy. The constant impact upon us of great throngs of people of itself produces a deadening fatigue. We have a special need for a sanctuary like this to which we can retreat for a time from the daily turmoil and have a place to rest and think under the quieting influence of nature and of nature’s God.

“It is not only through action, but through contemplation that people come to understand themselves. Man does not live by bread alone. This thought is expressed in the motto of the sanctuary in the words of John Burroughs: ‘I come here to find myself. It is so easy to get lost in the world.’ We are so thickly crowded with the forest of events that there is not only danger that we can not see the trees, but that we may lose our sense of direction. Under the influence of these beautiful surroundings we can pause unhampered while we find out where we are and whither we are going. Those who come here report the feeling of peace which they have experienced. In the expression of an ancient writer, it is a place to which to invite one’s soul, where one may see in the landscape and foliage, not what man has done, but what God has done…

President Calvin Coolidge dedicating Bok Tower, Lake Wales, Florida, February 1, 1929

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