Monday, August 31, 2009

Salesian Retreat

For the first time in its history the Salesian Province of New Delhi had its annual retreat at Sumedha Centre, Jeolikote, Uttarakhand.

Sumedha Centre is the latest apostolic presence the Salesian Province of New Delhi has inaugurated. The Centre is housed in the former Pastoral Centre of the Diocese of Bareilly. The Salesians moved here in August 2008, and began offering programmes from March this year.

The Retreat was held from August 25 to 31. The theme was “Da Mihi Animas, Cetere Tolle” and was facilitated by Fr. Joseph Kezhakkekara, former and first Provincial of New Delhi, and earlier of Kolkata, and currently Rector of Don Bosco School Alaknanda, New Delhi. Twenty four Salesians participated in the Retreat

Fr. Kezhakkekara planned and presented the Retreat as a preparation for the special renewal of vows on December 18, to mark the 150th Anniversary of the Founding of the Salesian Congregation. He interpreted Don Bosco’s motto “Da Mihi Animas…” as a total surrender of oneself to God and making God the priority in one’s life. He illustrated the theme by presenting examples of men and women who have totally surrendered themselves to God. He stated emphatically that only such surrender makes Salesian life worthwhile, and challenged the Retreatants to deepen and enhance their surrender to God and suggested some relevant means to do that.

“This retreat has helped me immensely to renew myself and find a new focus for my life as a Salesian and priest” said Fr. James, one of the retreatants. “The place is wonderful. The environment really helps to pray and reflect.”

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sumedha Sadhana

Our next programme at Sumedha Centre (October 01-November 19, 2009)

Sumedha Sadhana is an inner journey in quest of greater healing and wholeness, designed to help participants live more fulfilling and satisfying lives and be more effective in their service to others.

Participants begin from where they are, looking at what is happening on their psycho-spiritual journey. They try to discern what God might be telling them through all that is happening in their lives. They look at their spirituality and religious life commitment in the context of changing paradigms. They explore the quintessential Midlife Dynamics of identity (who they are), intimacy (how they integrate sexuality, affectivity and inter-personal relations) generativity (how they work and nurture future generations), integrity (how they make sense of and bring coherence to the whole of their life). They seek to better understand the impact of human sexuality and affectivity on their celibate commitment. They explore particularly the nature and challenge of celibate friendships. They explore spirituality of the body, and the phenomenon of stress and burnout. They seek to understand and appreciate the role of sacred scripture and faith traditions in promoting well-being and enhancing the spiritual journey. In group therapy they have the opportunity to discover their unhelpful patterns of living and relating and experience attitudinal and behavioural changes that facilitate healing and growth. They move toward greater psycho-spiritual integration through reclaiming their shadows, healing their hurts and reconciling unresolved issues from the past. This integrative process culminates in and concludes with a directed spiritual retreat.

Insights from various psychological theories of development, particularly Eriksonian, Attachment, Object Relations and Self Psychology as well as tools and techniques from Psychosynthesis, Intensive Journal and Jungian psychology and various expressive arts and media tools will be used to explore and enhance participants’ psycho-spiritual journey.

Sumedha Sadhana provides theoretical input as well as opportunities for participants to reflect on their experiences and to share them with one another and for personal and common prayer. It is hoped that through this four-fold dynamics of Input, Introspection, Interaction, and Prayer they gain a deeper feel for the psychological dynamics operating on their spiritual journey and integrate these to develop a healthier self so that they can experience greater wholeness and fruitfulness as they continue their journey into the Mystery that is God.

(Participant age limit: 30 to 60 years)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Monsoons in the Hills

Monsoons reached the hills late this year. We have only intermittent rains. But that has been sufficient to cover the hills with lush green grass.

It's beautiful to watch the mist rise and disappear. One moment you can see the mountain ranges for miles, the next moment they disappear under dense mist. However they appear very soon, for the mist lifts quickly.

Today has been an exception. It has been raining continuously since 4.00 am.

The stream next to Sumedha Centre has lots of water now, andthe sound of the cascading waters also adds to the charm of the place.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sumedha Sadhana

Sumedha Centre has completed two Sumedha Sadhana programmes this year. The last concluded on July 30.

The comments from participants have been fantastic.

“This place is so beautiful,” Sr. Christie, a hospital administrator from Patna observed. “The lush green hills, the chirping birds, the cascading waters of the stream—all these create a wonderful environment in which to pray and reflect,” she added.

The high quality of the inputs really enriched me, and helped to give myself a new orientation,” said Fr. Varghese, a Professor of Philosophy and a Novice Master from Sri Lanka.

“I came here confused, tired of life. I had half decided to give up all together,” disclosed Sr. Anita (name changed). “ Now I go back refreshed and renewed. Thanks to Sumedha Sadhana, I have found meaning in life again,” she said cheerfully.

Sumedha Centre

Sumedha Centre for Psychology and Spirituality

is located in the lush green Kumaon foothills of the Himalayas close to the Nepal border in the Indian State of Uttarakhand at a height of 4000 feet. It is 18 km south of the tourist town of Nainital.

Sumedha is a centre for renewal of body, mind and spirit using insights and practices from psychology and spiritual traditions.

In Sanskrit Sumedha refers to a healthy brain that controls entire body-mind systems, as well as to rejuvenation of body and mind.

In mythology, Sumedha is one of the horses that drive Surya's (Sun God's ) chariot and the one mainly responsible for guiding the destiny of an individual.