Posts Tagged ‘Province Day’

Sister Mary Grace Leung reflects on a diversity workshop she attended during Province Day on January 25th.


Last weekend presenters from the Kaleidoscope Institute were invited by the Ad Gentes Committee (Sisters Mary Lisa, Jane Marie, Mary Paulynne, Florette Marie, Mary Bernadette and myself) to conduct a workshop for our Sisters on developing competent skills for nurturing relationships in our lives and ministries within a multicultural context.  Although many Sisters have extensive experience living and working abroad, the purpose of the workshop was to help us grow in communication skills for the continuously changing diversity around us, to be sensitive to people from different cultures, and to understand ourselves better by examining the cultures we grew up in. 

Each of us is a sum of cultures – family, cultural, geographic, educational, ethnic and professional. The workshop used a variety of methods to explore some of our beliefs, values and personal preferences through table discussions, scripture study and spontaneous responses to the facilitators’ questions. We were encouraged to use listening skills in a deeper way that would be mutually inclusive.  For example, the Kaleidoscope Bible Study Process asks that a scripture passage be read three times. After each reading, participants are invited to share their reflections based on a question posed by the facilitator. Mutual invitation is the process where a participant invites another participant in the group to share their reflection. As a result, everyone is given time to respond and no one is left out.

Another method of discovering oneself was the examination of low and high-context communication styles. For example, a low context person is individually oriented, and focuses on action and solutions. A high context person is group-oriented and focuses on relationships first before taking action.  We discover our preferred working styles and learn how to stretch and accommodate others who have different preferences.

As a result of the workshop, I was reaffirmed in who I am and how I use my communication skills for building community. I was also challenged to recognize that there are many ways to work together. I am bi-cultural, born and raised in New York City by Chinese parents. This workshop shed light on what my communication style is based on all my different “cultures.”  I am really looking forward to part two of this workshop which will be held in March. We are Sisters of Notre Dame looking to a future full of hope, one that will see increasing diversity in our members, and that is truly a wonderful thing!

Sister Mary Grace Leung, SND

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