Tuesday, March 29, 2011


“Jungian Perspectives on Self Awareness” was the Sumedha Sadhana module that was completed last week. It was facilitated by Fr. Ajoy Fernandes SDB. Fr. Ajoy is a clinical psychologist holding a doctoral degree from De La Salle University, Manila, and the Vice Provincial of the Salesian Province of Mumbai.

Fr. Ajoy’s module was highly appreciated by the participants. He began by helping the participants to identify their psychological type and then explained dominant, auxiliary, tertiary and inferior functions of the type. He then moved on, using the inferior function of the type as a gateway, to exploring persona and shadow, animus and anima and the contribution of the psychological type to one’s personal spirituality.

Experiential exercises, art work and fantasy meditations were effectively used to explore these topics. Three movies – Chocolat, Spiderman II, and EarthSea—were very skilfully presented to explain the classic Jungian concepts of persona& shadow, animus & anima. The module concluded with the participants creating their on Mandala as a way of integrating psychological type, persona & shadow, animus & anima, and spirituality.

Some typical participant comments:

“It was a very good module of self-awareness and self awakening.”

“Very lively and enriching inputs with lots of depth.”

“The movies were inspiring. They gave me clear understanding of the Shadow….”

“Fr. Ajoy’s explanations and the way of relating to each one of us was excellent.”

“The sessions were very practical.”

 “It was greatly beneficial.”

Monday, March 21, 2011


Last week (March 14-19) the Sumedha Sadhana programme had the module “Psycho-Sexual and Celibate Integration.” It was facilitated by Joe Mannath SDB, PhD. Dr. Mannath has over 20 years’ experience in religious and priestly formation work and twelve years in University teaching both in India and abroad. He is a well known writer and a regular columnist with The New Leader. Currently he is the Rector of Don Bosco Renewal Centre, Bangalore.

The topics he explored included: Main Challenges in Regard to Psycho-Sexual and Celibate Integration; Stages of Psycho-Sexual Development; Psycho-Sexual Maturity; Celibacy – Meaning and Motive; Helps for Happy Celibate Living; Celibate Friendships; and Sexual Attraction in Ministry. The presentations were enriched by relevant films, jokes and meaningful liturgies.

The module provided participants much clarity on topics that are seldom discussed and as such was very useful. As one participant commented in the evaluation, “This module brought me insight and awareness of the beauty of sexuality and celibacy.” Another observed, “These classes provided a new meaning to celibacy…It can be made very precious and beautiful by my living it in the way it should be.”

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


The 16th edition of Sumedha Sadhana, Sumedha centre’s highly rated flagship programme, commenced on February 25th evening. It will end on April 25th.

There are 18 participants, the maximum number the Centre is able to accommodate. Of these, 13 are nuns and five priests, both religious and diocesan. Two of the nuns are from Thailand. All the other participants come from various parts of India – from the South to the North-East.

The first two weeks were facilitated by Jose Parappully, a Clinical Psychologist and the Director of the Centre. He explored with the participants the various psychological dynamics, especially those of midlife, that affect spirituality.

Joe Mannath PhD is facilitating the module “Psycho-Sexual and Spiritual Integration” this week. Following week Ajoy Fernandes PhD will explore “Jungian Perspectives and Self-Awareness.”

A change has been made in scheduling this year. Holy Week will be spent in a Spiritual Retreat and the programme will conclude with the Easter celebrations at the Centre.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Appreciation for Sumedha Sadhana

My experience in Sumedha Centre, in the Kumaon foot hills of Himalayas, close to Nainital was a special one. We were 18 participants; 5 Priests, 2 brothers and 11 sisters. Except for one sister from Thailand and myself, all were Indians. For two months we live together following the same rhythm of life. Men and women, middle aged and old, all worked, studied, prayed, danced and made fun together.

We participated in beautiful liturgies and rituals. Carefully selected films, books, songs etc were in abundance. We opened up to one another and shared what we were living at a deeper level. Together we discovered that we are all vulnerable, that we are all gifted and that we are all capable of living our lives fully. No one had any reason to be proud or ashamed of. After all, we are all human beings. In the process many of us experienced “healing miracles”, thanks to the expertise of the director who led us carefully through the process, valuable contribution of the resource persons and the understanding collaboration of our companions.

Throughout this experience I never remembered, I was a foreigner. I believed what I learned in school. My ancestors came from India and we have a blood relationship with the Indians. This is apart from being members of the same large human family. My Sri Lankan identity is still very important to me; but it is not a preoccupation anymore.

I will thank God for the rest of my life, for this precious experience I had in this beautiful land.

Thanks to all those who contributed to make this stay enjoyable, meaningful and fruitful. I would like to end this little article with a quotation from “The gentle art of Blessings” by Pierre Pradervand:

“If you ever, even for a few days, had the opportunity to live with others in an atmosphere devoid of all criticism and judgment, where you were accepted unconditionally just as you are, with your strengths and weaknesses, you are aware of what an extraordinary experience it is. Creativity, joy and spontaneity burst forth, hearts open, trust and self confidence blossom.”(pg. 97)

Before the experience of Sumedha Sadhana I would have said this is not possible. But today I would say, what I experienced is such more than this.


Sri Lanka