Saturday, April 27, 2013

Reconciliation begins with me - By Sr. Petunia Encarnata

Who would have thought that this queer nun was going to be involved in an amazing and incredible journey of reconciliation created by the resilient Aboriginal Communities in Canada?  Being both a non-aboriginal individual and a recent immigrant to Canada make me a foreigner in this land.  From my experience at the LGBT-Two Spirit Reconciliation Dialogue on April 15 and 16, I now also realize that the Aboriginal communities have welcomed me and all of us from other land through their generous spirit of family and friendship.  I also became aware that the beautiful Land in which I chose to live on for the rest of my life has been part of the First Nations territories long before the Europeans arrived and colonized the Americas.  I honour this fact and I am grateful for this awareness. 

My passion for reconciliation work surprised me.  A few days before the reconciliation dialogue was held, I received an email from Sr. Merry Q. telling the abbey members that we had been invited to a reconciliation dialogue for the LGBT-Two-Spirit Aboriginal Community by Reconciliation Canada, the agency under the umbrella of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. 

Reconciliation Canada ( is conducting a series of Reconciliation Dialogue Workshops across the province to engage Canadians in dialogue that provides a safe environment to revitalize relationships, raise awareness, and provide a safe environment to explore reconciliation. By attending this workshop, we will be part of the positive change which is created by strengthening relationships among diverse groups such as the LGBTQ2S community.
“The Vancouver Sisters,” reads the invitation letter, “were selected as a candidate for the two-day workshop because as a member of our community, we can have a positive role to play in creating a new way forward in relationships between Aboriginal peoples and Canadians.”
Right from the beginning of the workshop I felt welcome.  It felt like coming home, which I think was is possible because the Aboriginal Peoples have a powerful way to convey their creation-centered spirituality beliefs and practices.  Their prayers, songs, and healing rituals were so comforting and resonated profoundly with me so much that I would dare to say that I probably was a member of the First Nations in a past life. 

Through my experience in this dialogue, my increased understanding of Indian Residential Schools, and my calling as a queer nun, I am committed to engage other members of our Abbey, professional colleagues, peers, friends and family members about the facts, history and impact of the residential schools.  I will also participate in the Vancouver Walk for Reconciliation on September 22, 2013.  The walk will bring people from all of Canada’s many cultures together in a mass walk, in demonstration of a shared commitment to reconciliation.  I invite you to join me in both of these ventures.

One Joy, More Joy, Always Joy!!  And the Joy is multiplied when shared.  

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