Saturday, September 29, 2012


Another Sumedha Sadhana programme commenced on Sept 25.

During this first week the participants were helped to explore what is going on in their lives at this phase of their psychospritual journey and discern what God might me telling them through all that is happening. The main tool used in the process was Ira Progoff’s Intensive Journal Meditation.

The participants are already finding the programme very meaningful. It concludes on December 3.

The following is an appreciation from a participant of an earlier Sumedha Sadhana which attests to the usefulness of the programme.

“I landed up here with a feeling of burnout: spiritually, emotionally and psychologically.

The Process Spirituality and Centering Prayer helped me look back over my life… The classes on early development, midlife transition and its dynamics, sharing and meditation helped me to enter deeper into myself, especially my broken areas, where I had gone wrong (focus on work), what was missing in me (prayer life),my woundedness (from authorities) and chocked emotions (loss of my best friend)… The classes on Mature Spirituality helped me to re-affirm myself with my convictions and values.

As the days went by God was permeating my being and each of my life experiences… I was being healed by Jesus’ gracious presence through the meaningful and moving Eucharistic celebrations.

I became more and more aware of my being and its longing for purpose and meaning.

The movement meditations gave me the awareness that my body is sacred.

In therapy, listening to the life journeys of each, I was enriched and I too could disclose myself and heal myself. I appreciate the conducive atmosphere provided; I mean that here I found myself talking about the past and expressing my feelings without fear.

It was a pervasive and holistic experience – a blend of practical, intellectual, spiritual and psychological learning in the lap of nature’s beauty.

With a deep sense of joy and gratitude I express that I have received what I was looking for.


Monday, September 24, 2012


Jose Parappully, Director of Sumedha Centre, facilitated a four-day work shop (September 19-22, 2012) at Don Bosco Renewal Centre, Bangalore on the theme “Midlife Dynamics and Psychosexual Maturity.”

This workshop was part of a six-week long Salesian Renewal Course (somewhat ambitiously termed “Second Novitiate”) that has been organised by the Salesian Provincial Conference of South Asia.  All Salesians in South Asia within 15-20 years after Perpetual Profession are to attend these renewal programme that will be held every year.

This inaugural programme had 26 Salesians from 11 different Salesian Provinces of India. Forty eight had been expected.

Parappully presented how men and women in the midlife years experience gradually, and sometimes dramatically, discontent with how things are and desire something more in life. He described the various midlife dynamics, especially a re-awakening of sexuality and intimacy needs and how these can be integrated into one’s celibate commitment. He presented the major challenge in the second half of life for religious committed to the celibate way of life as moving away from the pressure of personal accomplishments based on self-reliance and self-sufficiency to deepening of one’s spiritual life and cultivating a more intimate relationship with God.

The participants found the workshop immensely useful for them at this time in their life. In fact, one suggested that “every Salesian at this period of their life should attend a programme like this. It will really improve our religious and community life.”

One of the things that the participants especially appreciated is the atmosphere created during the workshop that enabled them to share freely about sexuality and intimacy. As one 43-year-old priest disclosed, “This is the first time in my life that I have ever spoken to anyone on these topics. It has been very liberating.”

Many participants remarked that the workshop has given them a lot more of knowledge and awareness about midlife dynamics, sexuality and intimacy that has helped them to understand themselves and others, and which will also help improve their inter-personal relationships and their ministerial effectiveness.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Jose Parappully, Director of Sumedha Centre, facilitated a two-day workshop on “Midlife Dynamics and the Spiritual Journey” for 15 Capuchin Friars of the Lucknow Capuchin Province at St. Francis Asharam, Nainital, on 12-13 September.

The Workshop focused on four Journeys that midlifers are called make: Journey Inward, Journey into the Past, Journey Outward and Journey into the Future. The inputs presented various midlife dynamics and transformative processes especially the integration of the masculine and the feminine (animus/anima), the redemption of the “Shadow,” reclaiming of “Dreams” and the integration of sexuality, intimacy and celibate chastity. Participants had the opportunity to reflect on their experiences in the light of the inputs and share them in small and large groups.

The Friars found the Workshop very useful. “Very enriching”, “an eye-opener,” “gained very useful insights,” “awakened deep thoughts” and “very helpful” were some of the frequent phrases the Friars used to describe their experience of the Workshop.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Jose Parappully, the Director of Sumedha Centre, facilitated an eight-day Spiritual Retreat for the Animators of Communities of the Bombay Province of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary. It was held at Villa Theresa Convent in Mumbai from September 2 to 10. Twenty nine sisters participated.

The retreat was presented as a Desert Journey, using the metaphors of “Wilderness” and “Paradise” as presented by the spiritual guru Henry Nouwen. The theme for the day was introduced each morning at Mass and elaborated during the talk in the morning. Sisters were given scripture references and specific questions for prayer and reflection during the rest of the day. They also had opportunity to meet with the facilitator for personal sharing. The experiences of the day were brought to the Lord in prayer together in the evening.

Comments made after the retreat indicate that for the sisters this was a “unique” retreat, the kind that “we never had before.” They found it “really helpful” and helped them to have a “deep experience of God’s love” as also to bring attitudinal and behaviour changes. “A really nice retreat” was a common comment.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

MIDLIFE DYNAMICS – An “Excellent Programme,” say Participants!

The Midlife Dynamics and the Spiritual Journey programme at Sumedha Centre concluded yesterday (August 31) with the participants expressing immense satisfaction with the content of the programme, the organisation, the atmosphere at Sumedha, hospitality and facilities – and the scenic surroundings of Sumedha.

The dominant metaphor that informed the programme was that of “Journey” – represented by Scriptural journeys – that of Abram from Haran and that of the disillusioned disciples on the road to Emmaus. Abram, we are told, “journeyed by stages,” setting up an altar wherever he pitched his camp, turning wherever he stopped into “sacred space” – a place to encounter God. Jesus joins the disillusioned disciples, listens to their stories, reframes those stories and gives them a profound revelation of himself that transforms them, and they return to Jerusalem their “hearts burning” within them. The midlife programme was designed to provide participants similar experiences. Feedback from the participants confirmed that indeed was their experience at Sumedha.

Jose Parappully, the Director of Sumedha, facilitated the programme.

The psychological content of the programme was based on Erikson’s developmental stages, especially the stages of identity, intimacy, generativity and integrity. Rich input that integrated much of available literature on midlife, carefully selected journal articles and book chapters provided as reading material, expressive writing and drawing, somatic meditation which incorporated music, meditation, bioenergetics and dance, thematic movies, sharing in small and big groups, well-integrated liturgies, and an outing to the lakes provided a unique transformative experience to the participants. Some typical comments from participants:

“This was an inward journey for me. The inputs—especially on spirituality, sexuality, celibacy, intimacy—, the opportunity for quiet contemplation, provided me new and helpful insights.” Amal Raj

“The relaxing and trusting atmosphere created helped me open myself in ways I have never done before. New insights to enrich my consecrated life.” Archana

“A unique programme. From the very first to the very last session, it helped me to be in touch with myself in ways I have never experienced before.”  Biji.

“Feel very enriched.  The inputs and time for reflection were very helpful. Felt free to share my inner life. Gained better understanding of especially of spirituality, celibacy and intimacy.” Arul

“Feel energised. What was most helpful was getting deep into myself. The whole programme was arranged in such a way as to experience integration and wholeness. Very enriching.” Flory.

I had an excellent time here from arrival to leaving. The friendly and interdependent atmosphere, the hospitality, the food, the holistic approach. New understandings of spirituality and sexuality from the inputs, articles and sharing. Strengthened my values” Kumar

“This was a liberating experience. A well-integrated course –not just the rich inputs, but the drawing, writing, dancing, sharing and praying. Inputs clarified concepts. Drawings brought out what was hidden within. The dancing was very liberating.” Rethna Swamy.

“Enjoyed my stay here. Greatly enriched my knowledge on some very important topics and deepened my self-knowledge. I felt very comfortable in the group.” Rupa

“A very holistic experience. I feel more integrated and in touch with myself…The surrounding scenic beauty provided a rich environment.” Sangeeta.

“Really enjoyed the course, even though I did not know what it would be like. I gained so much more awareness of myself.” Sheryl

“Deepened my self-awareness. The sharing in groups helped me to come out of myself. I learned so much. Feel I can contribute better to others now.” Soucely.

“I really enjoyed my time here. The beautiful natural surrounding helped to create calmness and quietness. The dancing meditation helped in body, mind, and soul integration.” Xavier