Health and Salvation week at Boarbank, 12th-17th January 2015: Faith & Mental Health

Health & Salvation with Sister Margaret

Vercoe and Prof with Sr Margaret Sr Benedict Sr Margaret and Fr Dixie

Laughter is good for your health, and our week started in sparkling style with a presentation from Vercoe the Clown, whose distinguished career has included clowning in hospitals. But what is mental health and how does it relate to spiritual health? Fr Dixie Taylor gave us a New Testament perspective, with an intriguing comparison between Jesus' casting out of demons and modern methods of exorcism.

Fr Peter  Fr Peter Fr David & Fr David

Sr Margaret looked at the role of nature, religion and morality in ancient and medieval accounts of mental wholeness. Fr David Egan and Fr Peter Rosser then explored the distinction between confession and counselling, with some fascinating case studies.

Dr Susan Mary Benbow, used her wealth of experience as a psychiatrist to outline the various types of mental illness and distress that can be distinguished, raising a few questions about some of the conventional categorisation.

Dr Mary Benbow Bishop Richard & Sister Ruth

How can we improve our support for those with mental health problems? Bishop Richard Moth began the week of talks with an explanation of various innovative projects on mental health that the Bishops have sponsored as part of an organised programme over the last few years.  Dr Siobhan Reilly explained the way in which research methods can benefit decisions about better coordination of care for those with mental health problems. Fr Anthony Keefe, who provided a patient's perspective, offered a challenge to the whole Church to develop our awareness of and sympathy for the sufferers.

Dr Siobhan & Sr Margaret Fr Anthony

 As usual, the context was one of friendships old and new, cemented by the experience of shared prayer and meals, conversation around the log fire, and exploring the local area. We are very grateful to the priests who took part for presiding at Mass each day, including one day when we were joined by residents from the Nursing Home and celebrated the Sacrament of the Sick.

An Important Part Of The Day Bernadette and Nuala
Bishop Richard et al Liz, Sister Margaret and Trish

Other events included the film Molokai, about the life of Fr Damian, the leper priest, a visit to the local Buddhist community and temple at Conishead Priory, and a final social evening.

Gathering In The Hall Social discussion

Very many thanks once again to John for the photos from the week.

Next year’s event will be from 11th-16th January 2016 on the theme of Body, Mind and Spirit. Speakers will include Kathryn Mannix, Dominic Bray, Sue Lawrenson and Nuala Bent. For more information, please contact Sr Margaret