Five years ago, Anna Corwin, a PhD candidate from UCLA, visited several religious communities like the Franciscan convent in Oldenburg and was permitted to live with Sisters in one of them for 6 months. Her goal as an Anthropologist was to study the impacts of language, prayer, and world-view on health and aging processes.
Anna Corwin chose American Catholic Nuns as the subject of her thesis because they have been estimated through other research to navigate the aging and illness process “more successfully” than the average American. Her question: why?
Through her research, she concluded: “Two of the key factors contributing to the nuns’ physical and mental wellbeing are the spiritual support they experience from the divine and the social support they provide for and receive from each other in the convent.” This spiritual support, she explains, is deeply rooted in prayer practices through which “mundane care interactions are rendered sacred.”
Realizing the “holy” in everyday life is an important aspect of Franciscan spirituality. God is not just for chapels and bedtime prayers. God is in the shoveling of snow, the offering of a cup of coffee, the bandaging of a cut finger, the enduring of a business meeting that feels like a frightful failure. The Sisters’ have developed a skill for finding the sacred in each moment and accepting the gift of the divine through all of life’s events.
As an individual who deeply understands the health benefits of spirituality, Brookville Resident Jennifer Profitt founded Healthcharism in 2012, and proposed a collaborative partnership with the Sisters’ Oldenburg Franciscan Center (OFC), which will move forward in 2013.
“We will start with the resources we have, and build from there,” says Profitt. “The Sisters have experience in education, psychology, and spirituality. I have medical expertise and a deep love for our county. Together I think we can do great things.”
“It is wonderful,” says OFC Director Olga Wittekind, PhD, OSF. “Our Franciscan Charism calls us to be peacemakers, to care for the poor, and bring hope to others. This is a perfect opportunity to share our Charism with others.”
First things first, Profitt and Wittekind feel that teaching Mindfulness and offering programs for reflective learning are primary for helping others achieve their health and wellness goals.
Through Oldenburg Franciscan Center, Profitt and OFC Manager Angela Roesler will begin offering Spiritual Autobiography classes in January 2013, and Wittekind will continue offering workshops themed around Jungian psychology and mindfulness, as well as counseling & spiritual direction. Healthcharism workshops will be co-designed by Profitt and OFC staff to meet the needs of individuals & groups seeking healthier lives in a spiritual, yet ecumenical, setting.
If you would like more information about this topic, call or write to Angela Roesler at 513-543-5368 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about OFC Programming at www.oldenburgfranciscancenter.org.
Look for more news to be coming soon!