When doors are closed but windows begin to open.
The doors of An Croí Wisdom Institute have been closed since early March but now after a few weeks of adjusting to the shock of what was unfolding with Covid 19, its founders, Carmel Boyle and Dr. Geraldine Holton, have begun to open windows offering invaluable services in the midst of the current pandemic. Their service is in the form of emotional, professional and spiritual support for frontline workers who are caring for others and spiritual companionship for those who are cocooning or just needing to talk to someone as they try to make sense of and find meaning in the midst of fear, loneliness and confusion. Through their rich training programmes they have access to a resource of trained professionals in these areas that assist them in providing services during this pandemic and beyond.
The windows that are open again at An Croí offer Professional Supervision for caring professionals and Spiritual Guidance by Certified Spiritual Directors for those seeking spiritual support and accompaniment. These are the two pillars of training and service at An Croí Wisdom Institute and they are professions that are needed now more than ever.
Celebrating Twenty- Five Years of Training and Service
This year An Croí celebrates twenty five years of its training and services but the celebrations are on hold for now, as the many graduates of these programmes focus on how they can be a valuable resource in the current climate and how they can adjust their practice from physical meetings to providing their services through the many technological means now available. What An Croí can celebrate though, is the fact that because of their training programmes there are experienced, trained and highly skilled people available to be of service all around the country at this time. Those who have completed programmes at An Croí are accredited professionals by the two key relevant professional organisations, The Supervisors Association of Ireland (SAI) and The All Ireland Spiritual Guidance Association (AISGA) and these organisations are also a resource for finding this kind of support.
The Open Window of Professional Supervision for Caring Professionals
While An Croí tries to fulfil its commitment to those who are currently in training, the future and the questions of when its physical door might open again is very uncertain but the windows of service remain open. Professional Supervision provides caring professionals with a safe space where they can process and find support for the challenges they are facing in the workplace. Supervision is a reflective practice that is facilitated by a trained supervisor and it has proven to be extremely valuable, especially for caring professionals who sometimes need to debrief and be resourced again in a safe space and relationship that is both caring and professional. Supervisors support professionals who come from across the professions in healthcare, education, and wellness, as they adjust to ‘a new normal’, heal trauma and relieve stress.
The Open Window of Spiritual Guidance in a Time of Crises
Times of crisis and grief often awaken us to explore the deeper questions and can open us to see more clearly the reality of the spiritual dimension of life. Many have time and space during this pandemic like never before, to just be, to explore this dimension of themselves, to get in touch with their true essence as created beings in new-found times of solitude and silence and maybe engage in prayer or meditation of some kind. However, because so many have broken away from traditional spiritual communities, there can be a sense of loss and need for connection. An Croí has become a contemporary spiritual community for many and most often nowadays has its gatherings on platforms like zoom. It was interesting to hear recently on the news, that one in four people are accessing spiritual and religious services and support during this challenging time. A spiritual companion, someone who is trained to listen and be a nourishing support in a time of tremendous potential for spiritual growth is extremely valuable. Anamchara was the Irish name for such a companion in our spiritual tradition and it was considered so important to have a spiritual guide that St. Brigid once said that anyone without one, an Anamchara (Spiritual Soul Friend), was like a body without a head. An Croí Spiritual Guides are trained to be that supportive spiritual companion and soul friend as individuals face the surfacing questions of purpose, meaning and try to balance the experience of fear and confusion with trust in a Divine Source and Divine Providence.
The physical doors of An Croí might remain closed for another while on the main street of Tullyallen, Drogheda, the windows of An Croí, through the work of Carmel Boyle and Dr. Geraldine Holton and the services of those who trained at An Croí Wisdom Institute, are wide open in private practice, charities and government organisations, and online, providing an invaluable service. Graduates of An Croí training programmes are not just local women and men but come from almost every county in Ireland and several countries in the world. The doors may be closed but not the windows of An Croí (The Heart), they are wide open.
If you or anyone you know is needing the support of a supervisor, spiritual companion or an online enrichment or CPD programme, then contact An Croí centre for psycho-spiritual training and enrichment established in 1995 by Dr. Geraldine Holton and Carmel Boyle.