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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Healing of Memories

THREE VISITORS from the South African-based Institute for the Healing of Memories will be staying at the Center until the end of November. Fr. Michael Lapsley, the director, describes IHOM as a response to the emotional, psychological and spiritual wounds that are inflicted on nations, communities and individuals by wars, repressive regimes, human rights abuses and other traumatic events or circumstances.

Emotional scars are often carried for very long, hindering the individual’s emotional, psychological and spiritual development, according to Lapsley. Attitudes and prejudices that have developed out of anger and hatred between groups can lead to ongoing conflict and spiraling violence.

He knows of which he speaks. An ardant opponent of Apartheid, Lapsley lost both hands and an eye to a letter bomb. After he healed physically he realized more healing needed to be done. IHOM offers workshops for youth and for adults. Each Healing of Memories workshop is a small but powerful step towards healing the wounds of the past.

Michael continues to work to develop a model that will assist faith communities and others in the process of healing the psychological, emotional and spiritual wounds of violence. His ministry in South Africa addresses the ongoing trauma from the apartheid period. He also travels the world to work with communities seeking to emerge from violence and injustice to nonviolence and just relationships.

Maryknoll Sisters' President Janice McLaughlin contacted Fr. Ed Dougherty to see if we might offer hospitality while Lapsley and his two assistants, Mr. Madoda Gowadi and Mr. Steve Karakashian, present workshops to local communities on how to setup their own programs to promote the healing of memories.

Healing of memories uses guided imagery with a faith component to address the roots of trauma as a result of violence and injustice.

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