Sister Donna Liette describes how Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation lives out the value of hospitality to advance restorative justice. Hear the full In Good Faith episode IGF044 at aNunsLife.org.
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Sister Donna Liette, CPPS, has served at Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation for over 11 years. Prior to Chicago, she served for 14 years in Dayton, Ohio, as Executive Director of Mercy Manor, a transitional home for women released from the Ohio prisons. In previous ministerial roles, she as served as a teacher, principal, foster mother, campus minister, and spiritual director. Sister Donna has master’s degrees in Education Administration and in Pastoral Counseling. She is a member of the Sisters of the Precious Blood, Dayton, Ohio.
This podcast is brought to you by A Nun's Life Ministry. I'm Sister Maxine, and my guest is Sister Donna Liette with Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation on the South Side of Chicago, in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation serves young people, families, and community members affected by violence and incarceration. Sister Donna, you mentioned hospitality as a value of Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation. How is that value expressed in action day to day?
Our restorative justice is so much about hospitality that everybody is welcome. We just went to a workshop of looking at what's the norm and how many are outside that norm. And to see everybody as a part of God's creation. So anyone that comes into our center is welcome. Sometimes it's hard, because not everybody's in a real good space when they come into our center. But you know, just to receive them, to make them feel so welcome, and to try to be a part of their healing in their lives, and to give them some hope. We do Family Circles now. We haven't done a lot yet. We're working on it; with COVID it kind of got hindered. But to really bring families together--we have a whole curriculum of 12 modules where we help them talk about how do you communicate with one another? Do you sit down at a table and have dinner? Do you talk about, you know, how are you? And we do a lot of check-ins, so that people say, “How are you really feeling? Honestly?” You don't have to say, "Oh, I feel great," because probably you don't, but to say how you really feel with that check-in.
What kind of topics might you encourage families to talk about?
To talk about how do we communicate? How are we financially? How can we work together better? What is our family? Who is our family? A lot of the children don't even know their background and their grandparents and great-grandparents, but to let him tell stories about their great-grandparents or their grandparents. So we do a lot with Family Circles here. And now, after COVID we hope to get into the families and actually sit down with them at their table and do Family Circles to build relationships even among their own siblings, their grandparents, their uncles, their aunts, whoever. That family that's so extended, but sometimes so broken.
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This transcript has been lightly edited for readability.