The National CRI offers five one-week seminars on this theme this year—one each in Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mangalore and two in Delhi.
Much planning and careful preparation go into a seminar—choice of relevant topics, selection of competent resource persons, a clean and welcoming venue with the facilities required.
We are also keen that the atmosphere in the seminar be joyful and loving, for people learn best in settings which are warm and open. Another aspect we take care of is to have meaningful prayer services so that community prayer becomes a deep and joyful meeting with the Lord, not just dull routine. Apart from the sessions, each day has also a movie related to the theme of the day. Movies, when used well, are a great source of learning.
Each seminar is followed by an anonymous written evaluation, to help us get the real feelings of every participant about all aspects of the seminar, what each one found useful or less so.
Here are quotes from a few participants. The first quote is from a young superior of a large community of thirty-one sisters and several activities. She writes:
“It was a great learning experience…
“The main topics dealt by Fr Joe Mannath SDB, the CRI National Secretary, were: key functions of a leader, self-care, levels of animation, psycho-sexual integration and celibacy, healthy friendships, counselling and spiritual direction, and tips for superiors. A leader needs to treat everyone as a human being and to see problems as opportunities.
“The important aspects of finance, maintenance of accounts and tax laws were explained by Sr Regis SMI, a former provincial and a lawyer very knowledgeable about administrative matters.
“Fr Anton Paul SDB, professor of Canon Law and director of Viswa Deep Institute, Bangalore, explained clearly a number of points under “Canon Law for Superiors.”
“Sr Shanthi Priya De Mello BS, of the General team of Bethany Sisters, effectively explained the role of a superior, especially in women’s communities. She stressed that the superior’s primary task is to animate communities and to accompany the members with love and care. Superiors should lead by example.
“Feelings and emotions are normal in life, and one should know how to handle them. This practical topic was ably covered by Fr Dionysius Vas SJ, rector of St Aloysius College, Mangalore. He illustrated how accumulated anger leads to sadness; and prolonged sadness leads to depression. His various tips for handling emotions were very helpful.
“Personally, I was very much satisfied with this seminar, which was inspiring and enriching for me. The input sessions from various resource persons, the meaningful liturgy and prayers, the value-based movies after supper—all these activities made us reflect and recognize our inner potentiality to grow. I sincerely thank Fr Joe Mannath SDB and the CRI team for organising this seminar.” (Sr Lydia BS, Maryvale Convent, Kinnigoli, Mangalore)
“Learnt a lot from this program. Basically the role I have to play as an animator, not to mention topics like canon law, administrative matters and the like. Also had a lovely time there getting to know sisters from other congregations and their spiritualities.” (Sr Anifa Gomes SCCG)
“It has really been a vivifying experience where I have gained a lot from the sessions as well as the interactions. I am trying to implement what I have learnt…beginning with a caring and compassionate attitude towards my sisters and collaborators. Your prayer services have made a great impact and still linger in my mind and heart. Thank you once again!” (Sr Loretta Rozario SCCG)
A suggestion given my several participants was to make the seminar longer, and to make it available to many more religious.
An item in the evaluation form, “The one thing I remember most vividly about my experience here,” yielded these responses:
“The prayerful and good atmosphere.”
“Different congregations coming together.”
“The persons and the life-style.”
“Love for one another.”
“Conducive atmosphere and cordiality.”
“Family spirit. Feeling at home.”
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