St. Camillus Province of India: Ongoing Formation Workshop

St. Camillus province, India organized an ongoing formation workshop at St. Camillus provincialate, Bengaluru from 8 to 11 February, 2024. The theme of the workshop was “A Quest for wholeness: Towards a Meaningful Religious Life in Modern Society”. All confreres from Camillian communitites in India participated in the workshop. The event was particularly graced by key figures of the Order, including General Councilor for Formation Fr. Baby Ellickal, provincial superior of Indian province Fr. Bijoy Kuliraniyil, Coordinator of Asian Formators’ Forum Fr. Woothichai Joye (Thailand), and the provincial delegate of Tanzania Fr. Jospeh Mashauri.

In his inaugural address Fr. Bijoy emphasized the significance of ongoing formation in nurturing our religious consecration. He said that ongoing formation is not just about acquiring new knowledge and skills; it is about cultivating excellence in our personal and professional lives, ultimately benefiting those whom we serve.

The Superior General of the Order Fr. Pedro Tramontin, in his key note address, shed light on various challenges the religious life today faces, and underscored the critical importance of ongoing formation. He stressed the need to renew our consecation through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He highlighted some of the key principles of religious life such as: constant search for God, radical following of Jesus, continuous discernment, creative fidelity, journey ‘out’ of oneself, active living of liturgical moments, community living, formation in the socio-cultural context, doctrinal and professional updating, and free time for personal and spiritual growth.

In the first session, Fr. Baby Ellickal spoke on the legacy of St. Camillus that relives in the lives of Camillians. He pointed out some of the general qualities and traits of St. Camillus such as: faith and trust in Divine Providence, his intimate relationship with God, love for the Crucifix of Christ, love for the Eucharist, devotion to Blessed Virgin Mary, selfless service, humility, courage, determination, leadership, and commitment to holistic care of the sick. He made meaningful connection between these qualities and our camillian vocation to serve the sick witnessing the merciful love of Christ.

In the second and third sessions, Fr. Biju Sebastian MI delved into the topic “Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and their lasting effects on adult life”. Fr. Biju provided a comprehensive overview of ACEs, which encompass traumatic or stressful events experienced during childhood, such as abuse, neglect, household dysfunction, or exposure to violence. These experiences can profoundly impact an individual’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being throughout adulthood. The session highlighted various ways in which ACEs manifest in adult life, including disturbances in thinking, emotional regulation, relationships, and behavior. Fr. Biju also conducted a practical session on stress management. The interactive nature of the session facilitated engaging discussions and practical demonstrations, showcasing the applicability of stress-relief techniques in daily life.

The three sessions on the second day were dedicated to the topic “Psycho-spiritual challenges of Religious life”. Fr. Joe Mannath SDB, a prolific writer, professor, and a renowned spiritual guide, was the resource person. He explored the themes like psychosexual integration and celibacy, happiness, handling negative emotions, developing soft skills, leadership in religious context and formation processes. Some of the significant insights shared during his sessions included: ways to handle sexual feelings, the significance of celibacy and its purpose in religious life, challenges and benefits of friendships, importance of simplicity, commitment, and service in living a celibate life.

On the third day of the workshop, Fr. Sabu Thomas from the Sacred Heart College in Kochi, Kerala, engaged with the topic “Artificial Intelligence Tools – General Introduction and Hands-on activities”. Fr. Thomas explored various AI tools, their specific functionalities, providing the participants with hands-on experience through activities.

The programme was concluded on the fourth day with the celebration of the World Day of the Sick (February 11) and fraternal gathering.

Fr. Bacil Sebastias Singh MI