Missioning Ceremony

The ceremony of missioning at the Little Daughters of St. Joseph Spirituality Centre comes at the conclusion of three months in the Orientation Programme or OP.  For the last twelve weeks, twenty-one Christian Brothers have engaged in an experience of renewal and transformation.  Now, they were leaving to return to their home Province or District.

The opening hymn in Kiswahili (Hii ndiyo siku) which translated said, ‘This is the day which God has made.  Let’s sing for joy to praise God – a fitting beginning to a moment where Brothers express their gratitude for the three-month experience of the OP.

Br Sean McManus (from Oceania) welcomed the invited guests who had been part of the journey of renewal during the OP.

Jim Catterson (from England), Kephas Ndalama (from Zambia) and Ceddy Andrade (from India) stood at the various banners posted on the walls of the meeting room while the Congregation responded with: “We are standing at the edge, willing and ready to enter a radically different way of being disciples of Jesus and followers of Edmund.”

Vincent Mallya (from Tanzania), Phil Grundy (from Oceania) and Jerry Ekka (from India) shared their experience of the OP and how it has impacted on their lives.

The missioning ritual followed where the Brothers were called by their mentors to be anointed with oil as a sign of being consecrated for the mission of Brotherhood. Sister Alba, and Brothers David, Donal and Sunil have walked with these Brothers in this journey of renewal.  Each Brother received from Francis Hall (from England) a certificate of attendance at the OP and from Tony Shanahan (District Leader of East Arica District) a travel bag with the words ‘Journeying Together’ blazoned on its side. The Brothers then entered into their community groupings at the centre of the meeting room.

Sunil Britto (from India) invited David Gibson (from Ireland) to share a message of support to the participants as they return to their homes.

The congregation then offered a Pilgrim prayer for the Brothers: “O God, who guided the Hebrew People across the desert, we ask that you watch over these Brothers as they move in the love of your name to their communities”  (Based on the ancient prayer for pilgrim to Santiago de Compostela).

The Brother participants in turn sang a blessing song for the invitees and expressed in gestures their wish that vision and truth will companion them as they too return to their homes or communities.

Br Simon Kaswahili (from Tanzania) offered a vote of thanks to the invitees for coming and to the TST for their work in organising the OP.

The missioning ceremony concluded with the Galilee Song as the participants mingled again with the congregation. They sang: ‘So, I leave my boats behind, leave them on familiar shores’, to indicate their commitment to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and Edmund.




Evaluation of the Orientation Programme

Bev Watkinson came to assist the Brothers to evaluate the OP. Bev formerly worked in Centrecare in Queensland and has been in Nairobi for the last two years. She is a volunteer at the Ruban Centre. She encouraged the group to be honest as they reflect on the process of the OP. She introduced the 5 Ps: Participant, Passenger, Pilot, Prisoner, Protector as a tool for reflection and evaluation of the programme. She explained the various roles of the 5 Ps.

Participant:Actively involved in the learning process and is attentive

Passenger:Is ok to let others take the lead, and doesn’t want to take initiative

Pilot:The organizer who believes nothing will happen without them

Prisoner:I don’t want to be here and is afraid to allow things to change them

Protector:making sure everyone is happy and listening but are they so concerned with what is happening

She distributed a form where Brothers were invited to fill out where they positioned themselves with regard to the 5 Ps. Then, she invited the group to respond to the following questions:

What has changed for you?

So what!

What am I taking into the future? How will I put this material into my life?

The group then met to evaluate the various programmes and to show the evaluation on a time-line.Later groups were invited to compose a virtual Facebook page!

Looking to the Future

The morning prayer took the theme of ‘Embracing Change’ and took a passage from the Gitasaar which focused on the idea of the present happening NOW! The prayer concluded with the following prayer:

Face the future, for the past is over and gone.

Live with the memories.

Learn with the memories.

Learn from experiences.

Let go of grievances.

Resolve differences.

Live in the sight of God, in the way of God.

Be strong.

God has seen us through good times and bad.

God will bless our future as God has held our past.

God go with you.

Then Donal began the session on the idea of gardening, and went on to share how the Congregation Leadership Group reflected on the toxicity that had entered the Congregation. He stressed that, on an individual and community level, each Brother could be playing a part in recognizing the shadow in the body, bringing it into the light, and then working to heal the body.  Each one has a contribution to make in this process of healing.  This involves a commitment to change.

The Brothers then took personal time to make decisions as to what they will commit to doing when they return home, and what they will stop doing as well.

In the second session, Francis Hall introduced a conversation on the Journeying Togetherproject.  He invited various groups to examine various aspects of the ministry of the clusters. The Brothers looked at the benefits that accrued from the cluster, and some of the blocks that have prevented Brothers from joining the cluster.

The final week of the Orientation Programme began with the idea of ‘Looking Back’. The theme of gratitude featured large in the morning prayer where Brothers were invited to reflect on what they were grateful for. They reviewed briefly the various elements of the programme.

The sessions in the morning began to examine possible shifts that Brothers had experienced during the OP.  They took some time to identify what change had taken place in their lives, and they expressed these in the form of art.  Then, they shared the fruits of their reflections and gave space for Brothers to listen attentively.

It was decided then to give the afternoons free for the week that would allow Brothers to prepare for their departure.

Discernment Process

The morning prayer included the ceremony of the renewal of annual vows for Bruce, Clive and Smart.  We also celebrated the birthday if Kephas who was 36 today.

The first session of the morning was devoted to the idea of discernment.  Francis Hall facilitated this session, inviting the Brothers to examine what is involved in a discernment process, and to explore the difference between decision making and a process of discernment.  He then offered an exercise in discernment where the Brothers took some personal time to list two or three actions that could do after the OP.  Francis stressed the importance of interior freedom in any form of discernment, and when the Brothers re-assembled, they shared some of the insights they had gained.

The second session was devoted to harvesting the learnings from the week.  Here again, the Brothers took some personal time to see what they had learnt from the week’s programme.  They used the 4 Rs of harvesting:  Resonance, Resistance, Re-alignment and Resolution.  Then, in the open forum, they shared some of the learnings that they had harvested.

Edmund Rice Camps


On Friday, the Brothers went to experience what an Edmund Rice Camp was like.  This was indeed an inspiring and challenging moment where the Brothers joined the Edmund Rice group of volunteers who regularly take a group of young children for a day’s outing of activities and games.  All the Brothers were invited to participate actively in the day and found the energy and life of the volunteers simply inspiring.  The day began at 9.00 a.m. and continued until lunch at 2.00 pm.  Then the children had the opportunity to express their experience of the camp in dance, song and mime.  Then when the children had departed, the volunteers had a briefing session where they expressed their thoughts and feelings on the experience.  It was indeed a fantastic experience of how the spirit of Blessed Edmund is alive and well!



The Energy that Moves Us!

The day found the Brothers engaged in developing further understanding on the concept of energy, proposed by Diarmuid  O’ Murchu as an important concept in our understanding of life and spirituality. Sr. Alba shared with the Brothers the different manifestations of energy, impacts the universe and the different ways it can be used positively. The energy within the human person was explained through the Chakra System. They were also given hands on experience on how to use, colour and sound in meditation, energy for healing self and others, in practicing forgiveness and in blessing self and others.

Ministry in Prophetic Religious Life

Today, the Brothers celebrated Presentation Day for the Sisters of the Presentation.  We congratulated Alba on this remembrance of the contribution of Nano Nagle.

Francis Hall presented the idea of Prophetic religious life, inviting the Brothers to explore what specifically was prophetic about religious life.  He outlined the various Chapter documents which stressed the prophetic element of the Christian Brothers.  The Brothers then outlined key aspects of prophetic ministry.  Francis then invited the Brothers to identify  ministries in each of the Districts and Provinces which satisfied these criteria. From the list they drew up, a representative from that region presented one ministry that was truly prophetic.

In the second half of the morning, Francis described the cluster in Western Province as a shining example of prophetic ministry.


Conflict Management Part II

The day began with a ceremony of reconciliation where Brothers shared on some experiences of forgiveness that they had undergone in the past.  Then all were invited to wash the hands of a companion as a symbol of reconciliation.

Kathy then began the second day of the workshop by  asking the group to share or express what they expected from the day. The Brothers wanted to explore how to deal with conflict in the community. Some observed how many people withdraw in the face of conflict.  Others shared how the conflict between two people can impact on the atmosphere of the whole community.  The question remains how to deal with this situation.

Kathy explained the concept of ‘ripeness’ where the situation needs to be at a stage where the conflict can be addressed.  She then introduced the 8 tools of the leader mediator based on the work of Mark Gerzon (Leading Through Conflict: How Successful Leaders Transform Differences into Opportunities). The group divided into groups and discussed these 8 tools:

  • Integral vision
  • Systems Training
  • Presence
  • Inquiry
  • Conscious Conversation
  • Dialogue
  • Bridging
  • Innovation

Later Kathy explained how dealing with a conflict, the facilitator needs to ask the following questions

  1. Who is involved?
  2. What is the issue? (interests, values, emotions)
  3. What is the relationship between the parties?
  4. What are:
  • the best alternatives,
  • the most likely alternatives
  • the worst alternatives?

What’s the best role for me as facilitator?

Kathy went on to explain the triangle of satisfaction as a way to analyse  what goes on in a moment of conflict.



Conflict Management

Kathy Vaughan began the workshop by getting the groups to mingle and share their hopes and expectations for the workshop as well as sharing their learnings about conflict from their past.  Then, she invited the group to list the norms for the successful running of the two days.  She defined conflict as ‘An expressed struggle between two or more interdependent parties related to real or perceived incompatible goals, differing interests and ability to frustrate my interests and or ambitions in the present or in the future.’

She introduced a game where she invited Brothers to attempt to bring a partner to the other side of a line.  In this she explained how we find it difficult to see solutions to a problem when we take the message from only one perspective!

She outlined the relationship between the achievement of a task and the degree of relationships involved.  There are, according to Kathy, five approaches to conflict which she described as competition, accommodation, avoidance, compromise and cooperation. Each approach is valid at certain times. She emphasized how each one also is based on a world view, on certain beliefs about self and others and on what one wants to achieve.

She outlined how often conflict can be analyzed by using SBI.  S describes the situation that is happening.  B refers to the behaviour that is taking place. I stands for the interest that each part has in the conflict moment.  I also stands for the intent of the conflict meaning that each incident explains why we pay attention to the happening and what this event tells me about myself.

Kathy then invited the Brothers to practice listening (to a subject like a moment when I was proud etc)  without making a comment.  Then she repeated the exercise where we asked questions that would further the conversation. And then finally, she repeated again the 90 second conversation with the listener summarizing what they heard.

Finally Kathy offered some handouts on self-reflection on a critical incident and on preparing to engage in a difficult conversation.