The International Formation Team organized workshops in Zambia and Nigeria in response to the needs of the Local Leaders and the Temporary Professed Sisters in the two regions. Sr. Kathleen Bryant was the main facilitator in both places while Sisters Winfridah, Geraldine, Pat, Helen and Brid from the IFT gave some input in Zambia and Miriam, Jacinta, Gertrude and Brid contributed in Nigeria. Two Temporary Professed; Philomena in Zambia and Beatrice in Nigeria shared on accompaniment.
“Pray that our Lord will send active wise laborers to our very busy vineyard and give us grace to train them well. AMDG”
Ven Mary Aikenhead, 16th April, 1847
The workshops in Zambia were for Local Leaders on 10th-11th February and Temporary Professed on 13th, while the two in Nigeria were 17th – 18th Local Leaders and 20th – 21st Temporary Professed.
The days began with reflective and inspiring prayers prepared by Sr. Kathleen. We then spent time on The Principles of Formation (our core values) and their practical application in terms of mutual respect, owning our charism, positive involvement in community and ministry and developing qualities of balance, flexibility, creativity and good humour. The ideals are attractive; the challenge lies in implementing these values.
Accompaniment of the temporary professed sister by the local leader was described as a ‘graced companionship’. Many words were mentioned: active listening, profound respect, graced moments, empathy, ‘growing edges’, discernment, mentoring. We are encouraged to touch into our capacity to enable others to grow.
There were light-hearted role-plays to highlight better and less good ways of accompaniment. We looked at mentoring in the light of Scripture, as Kathleen opened up the account of the Samaritan Woman (Jn. 4) and the Disciples on the Road to Emmaus (Lk. 24) in a new and beautiful way. Jesus mentored the disciples for three years, we can learn from his approach.
The process was interactive, as sisters shared in groups. Kathleen kept things lively with video clips to highlight certain points. She also shared briefly on Social Media, with its immense possibilities and its challenges. Humour and active participation were key elements with plenty of energy and enthusiasm.
Kathleen provided a reflection booklet to enable us to record and remember what touched us most deeply. The same content for the Local Leaders’ workshop was adjusted slightly for Sisters in temporary formation and was characterized by the same spirit and energy.
Evaluations at the end appreciated the experiential model of teaching, the image of Jesus as accompanier, the personal and group sharing, the level of openness, participation and involvement in dramas etc. and the liveliness of the facilitator! Our only regret was that there was that two days were too short. There was not enough time to unpack all the wisdom available!!!
Sr Brid Greville RSC