From the Heart is a space for the reflections of our staff on issues that matter to them, to our network, and most importantly, to those we walk alongside.
This month, our CEO, Daniel Lussier, shares his thoughts on the apology given by Pope Francis in regards to the Catholic Church’s role in Residential Schools, and how he hopes we can continue to move forward together.
On April1st, Pope Francis apologized on behalf of the Catholic Church for the harms caused at Residential Schools in Canada. Over 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children were forced to attend schools that were designed to remove them from their families, their culture and their traditions. There was also a pattern of abuse that has had lasting impacts that continue to be felt today by Indigenous people of all ages.
We are heartened by this apology, but also remain focused on the ways that Réseau Compassion Network can continue to move towards reconciliation. We understand that an apology, while powerful and overdue, is but another step in our journey forward.
Many of the organizations we sponsor walk alongside members of the Indigenous community, and we are committed to a continuous path of learning, unlearning and growth at all levels. An apology from the Pope doesn’t absolve us of any of those responsibilities and of the work that lies ahead. Perhaps it can be a reminder that reconciliation must be a commitment we renew with each day, imbedded into the ways we operate internally and externally in our community.
We are approaching reconciliation with open minds and open hearts. We know we have much to learn, and we have established an Indigenous Advisory Circle to help guide us.
While it is still early in our reconciliation journey, we have identified some important pillars. Building and nurturing relationships remains central to our path forward. When we are invited into Indigenous organizations or communities, we must learn to be allies, to listen and to support in the ways we are asked to. Our Indigenous Advisory Circle will be an important resource; a place where we can ask questions, seek advice and ensure we are moving forward with respect.
We also continue to support strategic projects and programming to tackle complex issues faced by Indigenous communities. As many of you know by now, we are proud to have been invited to participate in the Clan Mother Healing Village, and will join the founders in ceremony this summer to complete the transfer of lands. The large acreage that formerly belonged to the Sisters of the Good Shepherd near Belair will be home to a village for Indigenous women. Created by them, for them, this village aims to help heal trauma among female-identifying people by bringing them closer to their traditions and ancestral knowledge.
Lastly, we are in the planning stages of a retreat for leaders of our network organizations. With a focus solely on reconciliation, we aim to come together to commit as a Network to moving forward, to learn from each other and our respective paths and to explore ways with which we can support each other along the way.
Our network members are, like us, determined to do better, to know more and to adapt. We recognize that this means sometimes being uncomfortable as we question how our systems work, how they were designed, who they benefit, and most importantly, who they don’t. This is our next step, and we look forward to uncovering these truths together.
Enjoy this edition of our newsletter.