As part of the Volunteer in Community program this summer, Donna Carnes taught a class on resilence. Below are her reflections on the experience.
When Sister Mary David Walgenbach and I talked in March about what topic I’d like to focus on while ‘teaching’ a class to the summer volunteers, I said without hesitation, ‘Resilience in Daily Living,‘ and she replied without skipping a beat: ‘perfect!’ The ease of our connection made me think: genesis is good! The hours spent with the young women and Sister Lynne Smith affirmed the value of the subject, and the wealth of experience and feeling that each individual shared. We met three times a week for a month, in the quiet of the late afternoon, often after the volunteers had already experienced a very full day of physical work at the monastery. And we … opened up. We explored the cultural, behavioral, physical and cognitive/ inner-voice aspects of resilience and it’s raison d’être, trauma, within the context of our own lives, experience and spirituality, with pearls of Benedictine wisdom entering the discussion in both practical and contemplative ways (thank you Sister Lynne!). And then there was the music. Toward the end of the course, we listened and responded to music that each of us had chosen, music that had particular meaning, music about loss, joy and resilience. When I think of our reflections together, I can hear in my head our individual words, feel the life journey, with the music echoing all around. And I think: our resilience is nourished by our shared humanity; how very fine.