Healing as opportunity – One community’s story

Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity – Hippocrates

 As we struggle through this season of our political discontent, communities of interest – faith communities, academic institutions, senior residences, schools, neighborhoods, towns and cities – face a mighty challenge to heal the wounds inflicted by the election of 2016. Visionaries see both the pain and the opportunity implicit in the healing process.

One institution that has come to my attention over the weekend is St. Catherine University in St. Paul. Though SCU is my alma mater I share the story not to promote the institution but to suggest a path for others to embrace the opportunity at hand.

The need to heal the campus community came from the Student Senate President who emailed the University President with this question: “Should we do something post-election to help heal the St. Kate’s community?” adding that she was “really worried about how everyone is feeling.”  The administration shared the student’s concern and took immediate and concrete action.

The result:  On Wednesday, November 9, the University community – faculty and students, staff, board and founders will gather for an evening of dinner, dialogue and healing. Sponsors reflect every aspect of the University community — from Student Senate to Campus Ministry to the Muslim Student Association and the Theology Department.

The evening includes a gathering for Interfaith Prayer followed by dinner and dialogue that will focus on the institution’s legacy of service to the common good and the opportunity to heal as community.

The questions with which all will grapple include divisiveness, hurt and anger that have emerged during the election, how to live out the legacy of the founders, bridge building, the true meaning of “respect for all” and personal commitment to the opportunity to heal as a community.

This creative initiative strikes me as an idea that might inspire other communities of interest to acknowledge and act on the challenge to embrace a unique – and painful – opportunity to grow by working as community to heal the wounds that politics has exposed.

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