In its fifth year, the Benedictine Oblates of St. Scholastica Monastery, offered a lecture presentation during Lent providing us with much needed sustenance for the journey. The first virtual presentation held on March 7 was given by accomplished communications professional and author, Nicole Sotelo. Favorably, Sotelo's talk entitled: "“To Share the Common Table” A Benedictine Vision for Living in Times of Division" captivated the participants despite the confines of Zoom, as the St. Scholastica Monastery continues to adhere to pandemic protocols. Her presentation explored aspects of our internal narratives, forgiveness and reconciliation, as well as St. Benedict's own words on reconciliation.
An important takeaway, Sotelo shared, on the topic of forgiveness and reconciliation explored the idea that forgiveness is not a solution but rather a spiritual approach. Additionally, she offered the 7 Characteristics of Trauma-Informed Forgiveness for us to ponder:
First, Forgiveness is your choice
Second, Forgiveness affirms your desire for new life
Third, Forgiveness means remembering in a new way
Fourth, Forgiveness is a process of change
Fifth, Forgiveness takes time
Sixth, Forgiveness is active
Seventh, Forgiveness may be communal
Further, Sotelo reminds us that St. Benedict's Rule focuses on reconciliation and "a return to the common table" as a signal towards restoration. Additionally, Benedict's vision of community is that of sharing a common table, sitting down across divisions.
After this difficult year of pandemic, civil unrest, and political divide we are grateful for Sotelo's thought provoking presentation which brought us full circle through the acronym she shared: ACT
We are indebted to the Oblates for once again providing us this annual opportunity to gather virtually and examine timely topics. If you would like to learn more about the Oblates, please visit the dedicated section of our website here: www.osbchicago.org/oblates