Monday, February 22, 2010

Suicide Intervention and Prevention Workshop in Thompson Feb. 20th 2010

Our archdiocese puts on an annual one day workshop for lay formation and ministry training in Thompson each winter. The theme this year was A Holistic Approach to Suicide: Prevention and Intervention. About 60 participants came from 14 communities within the archdiocese, the furthest being Lac Brochet, MB; Kinosao, SK and Oxford House, MB
Gail Burrett of Taking Flight International from Edmonton was the presenter. She used a process of lecture with power point, one on one sharing, group work and reporting, role playing, meditation and finally community group work to come up with a plan of action for each community.
In her own calm and confident way, she shared her expertise on why suicide happens; what suicide is; the effects of suicide; how it can be prevented and how it can be handled when it happens. Her experience shone through the gripping stories she recounted to illustrate her teaching.
One of the gems that she shared with us was that self-inflicted hurt is more about soothing pain through a different kind of pain, than being suicidal. She stressed the importance of honoring the life of a suicide victim without glorifying the act of suicide. Everyone is responsible for everyone else’s well being, she emphasized, and taught us that a kind word goes a long way. Just one sentence from a teacher to an at-risk student, “How was your day, sweet heart” kept that student alive.
Participants went away with a hand-out of information, much support, greater knowledge and hope-filled determination to make a difference in their respective communities.
The event was organized by Fr. Bill Stang OMI, vicar and chancellor, and Rochelle Rydberg, our administrative secretary in collaboration with Fr. Eugene Whyte OMI and Sr. Andrea Dumont CSJ of St. Lawrence Parish in Thompson.

Fr. Bill Stang OMI, vicar and chancellor of our archdiocese, leads the gathering in prayer to start the day.

Gail works with a group from God's River as they discuss the plan that they want to take home to their community.

John Henry and Sherry Menow from Norway House share some thoughts with their pastor, Fr. Noel Boulanger OMI. Fr. Noel covers Cross Lake, Norway House, Grand Rapids and Waboden.

Madeleine Spence, lay presider from Nelson House, talks over some points with Gail during a break.

A view of some of the participants doing some personal work at their tables during the workshop.

Natalie Tays, school principal; Audrey Rose, a teacher, and Karen Spence are from Nelson House. Natalie and Karen are new lay presiders, under the guidance of Srs. Susan Gardner and Ellen Kennedy, Dominican sisters who are lay formators based in Nelson House and reaching out to the larger area of Leaf Rapids and South Indian Lake.

A group of parishioners from Thompson and the United Church minister made up one of the tables.

Sr. Carmen Catellier snjm, pastoral minister in Cross Lake, re-connects with Kerrie Samuel from Lac Brochet, who is doing her best to minister to youth in that community. Sr. Carmen used to minister in Lac Brochet and Brochet some years ago.

James Hickey of Thompson and Fr. Eugene Whyte OMI, pastor or St. Lawrence parish in Thompson, listen intently to the presenter.

Sr. Andrea Dumont csj of Thompson, Miles Bighetty from Pukatawagan and another participant work on the plans for their respective communities.

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