Saturday, April 15, 2017

These are the notes I took of the Holy Saturday reflection presented by Fr. Scott Lewis SJ at Manresa Retreat Centre; April 15, 2017:

Holy Saturday is a period of 'in-betweeness', characterized by feelings of
It is a metaphor for life itself: life is a state of 'inbetween-ness' - in between birth and death.
On that first Holy Saturday the disciples did not have the insight and consolation of Easter Sunday.   What they did have was the betrayal of trust, dereliction of duty, scandal created by those in positions of trust, family and friends who failed to see Jesus for who he was, indifference to the message. The mission of Jesus seen as a failure.
Like the story of Job - things collapse, our world crumbles.
Things once important lose meaning.
Anger could take over as we treat badly with grief and loss; we are ill-equipped to deal with disappointment.
The times in which we live seems like an extended Holy Saturday.  How do we treat with this in-between time? 
That is when we find what really matters.  Patience is the companion of wisdom; knowing how to wait for God - the art of patience.  Abraham, that man of faith, is a model of this: he trusted that God's promise would come to pass - at the appointed time.
But amongst us
                                    feelings of being left behind
                                    rising levels of polarization
                                    indifference to those who struggle
leads to extremism ... radical conservatism ... 
The in-between times are so protracted we can even forget about The Promise.
We need to cultivate the spirituality of Holy Saturday - the Art of Waiting: staying anchored in the moment with serenity, a sense of assurance that things will happen in due time - even when you cannot see the path ahead: "Lead Kindly Light amidst the encircling gloom, lead thou me on .... I do not ask to see ... one step enough for me". (Newman,1833)
The spirituality of Holy Saturday calls for:
  1. Faith
Not dogma or doctrine, but trust rooted in one's relationship with God and not what is happening around you.  Faith.  Reflected in how one responds to life ... it is, according to Wilfred Cantwell (1979), "an orientation of the personality, to oneself, to one’s neighbor, to the universe; a total response … to see, to feel, to act in terms of, a transcendent dimension".
We take here, as our model, Abraham our father in faith. 
  1. Hope
Not wishful thinking, but being able to gaze into the heart of God and to be inspired, knowing that God is continually at work.  A sense that God has barely gotten started.
Hope is the mark of closeness to God.
  1. Love
Not romance, but a concern for the happiness of others - even those who are different to us; even those persons we do not like.  God makes no distinction; God has no favorites, God allows the rain to fall and sun to shine on the honest and the dishonest alike.  Love is always expressed in very practical terms ... it is a verb ... a reaching out to the other in kindness.
The stories of the many persons throughout the world who are standing up for the weak, the suffering, the oppressed - they show us how to carry on in the in-between times; how to stay patiently with the emptiness whilst taking small steps in gratitude - no sense of entitlement, but gratitude.  Where there is resentment there can be no gratitude - "Resentment is the cancer of the soul".  Life is good if we receive it as a gift; not with a sense of entitlement. 
So, we ought not to linger at Good Friday nor gallop to Easter Sunday.  We are called, rather, to be subversive in the world: people of faith, hope and love in the world; refusing to get sucked into the depths of despair.
Act  justly NOW...
Love tenderly NOW ...
Walk humbly NOW ...

We are not expected to complete the work but neither are we free to abandon it.

Monday, May 25, 2015

S.T.E.P.E.R.S. into the New Dispensation of Residential Childcare - A Principled Approach

The S.T.E.P.E.R.S. Model has emerged out of the organizational transformation exercise which began at SDCH in 2008.  Founded in 1871 and committed to the care and protection of socially displaced children and youth, SDCH was propelled into transformation mode by push-factors both external and internal to the organization; forces exerted by changes in legislation as well as the impact of societal changes upon a core institution - the family.

Externally, there were fundamental changes taking place in legislation pertaining to children, one piece of legislation in particular - the Children's Authority Bill - signalling  a shift within the field of childcare from unregulated to regulated practice; a system in which childcare providers  would need to be registered with the licensing body, the Children's Authority, in order to function.

Internally there was a growing sense of dissatisfaction with the negative outcomes being faced by so many  of our residents - signs of the organizations ineffectiveness in treating with the real needs of the children and young people committed to its care: the high incidence of children being taken before the court by the Home because of problem behaviours beyond our control; more and more children under-performing academically, more and more young people experiencing failed placements resulting in homelessness post-discharge.  As we studied our situation we recognized that a major shift had taken place around children's presenting situations and case histories: fewer and fewer were the stories of social displacement due to poverty and children being orphaned; more and more there were accounts of abuse, neglect and poor parenting.  Trauma and loss was now the recurring theme within the presenting stories of the children admitted to care at SDCH yet we were still using technology designed for children who were orphaned.

By 2013 the process of organizational transformation had brought us to the point where we were able to articulate the principles - seven in number - which were to shape the residential childcare practices of SDCH:
  1. Strengths-based
  2. Trauma/loss sensitive
  3. Person-in-Environment
  4. Permanency
  5. Evidence-based
  6. Results-oriented
  7. Biopsycho-social Spiritual
Today, the organizational change and transformation process is well on its way as SDCH moves towards the full implementation of the S.T.E.P.E.R.S. Model by June 2016.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Christmas Season

"Joseph set out from the town of Nazareth in Galilee and travelled up to Judaea, to the town of David called Bethlehem, since he was of David's House and line, in order to be registered together with Mary, his bethrothed, who was with child."

The children from St. Dominic’s Children Home had spent a Christmas full of activities in which to learn, meet new people and of course have fun.

One of the main activities was the blessing of the crèche, a very special event, where friends, children, staff and benefactors participated and enjoyed different performances.

 Another event was the party at Brian Lara’s house where the children had fun time.
 The Girls from St. Dominic's Children Home at the party  in Brian Lara's House
The first Posada was held in St. Dominic’s Children’s Home which represents the journey that Joseph and Mary made from Nazareth to Bethlehem looking for a place for the birth of our Lord Jesus. After the posada we broke piñatas and the children got a lot of candy.
Thanks to all the people who in someway made ​​the Christmas 2011 holidays very special for our children.



Tuesday, May 31, 2011



In a short time we will celebrate Pentecost Sunday- Christ filling His followers with the Holy Spirit  and sending them into a broken world as His agents of peace, joy,reconciliation and healing. Such a celebration provedes a fitting opportunity to  greet and express a sincere word of  thanks to all our friends and benefactors- you have beenán agent of Christ for us. In sharing your time, skills and resources with us you have positively impacted in some  way, small or major, in the lives of the children and young people in our care. 

The Gospel reading for Pentecost Sunday comes from John 20:19-23 and in verse 19-20 we read that  “Jesus came and stood amog them. He said to them, “Peace be with you”....”. Like Jesús you, in some way, have “stood among us” - have joined with us - and we have experienced your supportive, encouraging presence. This has made it possible for us to do the things that we share with you in this issue of Newsline. 

So we thank you with a sincere heart for your goodness and kindness to the children of the Home - and to the Sisters and Staff, as well. May Christ´s Holy Spirit - the giver of  wisdom, understanding and fortitude; who makes it possible for us to love without counting the cost... possible for us to find peace, hope and joy in the midst of adversity ... may that same Holy Spirit fill and direct you as you continue along your life´s journey.                                


  -Sr Arlene Greeetinge.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Shifts in Residential Childcare Practice

At St. Dominic's Children's Home we have identified six (6) major shifts taking place within the field of residential childcare. These are:
  1. from 'power and control' to 'building relationships';
  2. from the child as the the client to the family system as the client;
  3. from children 'ageing out' of care to the earliest possible reintegration of the child into the family system;
  4. total institution to community-based;
  5. from the child as the 'object' of care to the child (child acted upon) as the 'subject' of care (child participates);
  6. from problem-centered to solution-focused/outcomes oriented.

The changes in structure and methodology which these shifts demand will prove challenging for many within the field as they demand a re-evaluation of core beliefs. Many of us grew up hearing "children must be seen and not heard", for example, but today's child has the right to a voice and is expected to participate (age-appropriately) in making decisions which affect him/her.

What are some of the other shifts taking place?