I was in West Africa for Ten Days

by Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde, Visitation Companion

Finding God in all things...

Finding God in all things...

I was in Burkina Faso, West Africa for ten days. As I return to the Visitation Community stateside, I struggle with how to acknowledge the prayerful experiences of my heart and mind abroad. The following is my attempt at paying homage to this trip.

Contemplating Koudougou
Mango trees
Brakina beer
Bottled water
Orange Fanta
Deet saturated skin
Red Earth
Thatch roof
Tin and tire ceilings
Woven mats
Grilled chicken
Stick shift cars
Brown skin
Balanced baskets
Fish soup
Wooden wheels
Water barrels
T-shirt and peanut carts
Ceramic tile exteriors

Salesian Leadership – May, 2012

Leadership Group

Salesian Leaders 2010-2012

by Gilbert J. Gustafson, Leadership Development Consultant


On a beautiful May evening we concluded the second year of our course on Salesian Leadership with a group of leaders from the North Side of Minneapolis who are determined to be part of the healing of the community. The warmth and sunny-ness of the day were perfectly echoed by the warm and tender feelings expressed in the closing of this year’s exploration of leadership using Salesian principles. This course was funded by the 2010-11 Answering the Call campaign. One of the priorities of the campaign was to “Provide lay leadership training in the tradition of the Order’s founders, allowing others to be involved in the evangelization of the Sisters’ ministry.”

This year we designed our monthly sessions to reflect on the leadership our participants provide in their families, at work and in the community. We explored styles of communication and how to deal with differences. We also examined how to be fully present to others. In the center of our season we introduced “Lectio Divina” (meditating on the Word of God) as a means of spiritual nourishment. In our first season we initiated Centering Prayer and made repeated use of this prayer form in season two.

At the final session we reflected on what has been learned and how we have grown in being a leader. Each participant spoke movingly of how she or he has implemented what has been learned. Each spoke of how she or he intends to continue to grow as a leader moving forward. At the end of the evening we commissioned one another to continue on as faith filled leaders by signing one another on our senses, hearts, shoulders, hands and feet. The combination of silent gesture and spoken word perfectly captured the truth that authentic leadership is lived out both in word and action.