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Created in 2003 and located at the main entrance to PCHS, the mural is dedicated to the mystery of faith, the diversity of human experience and the spiritual life of the PCHS Community. The Mural was created with the assistance of art teacher Sylvie Allard and her students.
Spiritual Care and Guidance and Community Involvement Animator
The Spiritual Care and Community Involvement Service offers spiritual accompaniment to student facing the death of a loved one.
What is Spiritual Accompaniment?
The spiritual animator is an integral member of the school’s Student Services team. They work as part of a multi-disciplinary team, coordinating efforts with the professionals and administration to better meet the needs of the student population.
The question of what type of relationship the spiritual animator has with students is paramount in distinguishing his/her role in the Student Services team and their professional boundaries with students. In one to one interventions, the animator attempts to address the spiritual, emotional and religious needs of the student as these aspects of life contribute to and are part of the student’s reality. Quality in spiritual animation means a service which is available, accessible, spiritual in focus, and respectful of particular expressions of faith and cultural traditions.
The role of the “accompanier” best captures what is the animator’s relationship to the student body. This would mean the spiritual animator would be trained in the area of active listening. It is vital to simply be present during times of difficulty. The role of the animator is not to mentor students according to his or her own sense of what is right. The role of the animator is to listen, to seek out students who are suffering and non-judgmentally accompany them through their difficulty. This includes, but is not limited to the areas of bereavement support, family crisis, self -esteem, stress management.
As such, the spiritual animator’s role and responsibilities would often overlap with other professionals including the Guidance Counselor, Social Worker, Psychologist, Special Education Technician, etc. As a member of the Student Services Team, the animator would be able to coordinate his/her efforts with other professionals and administration to better meet the needs of the school community. It should be made clear that the spiritual animator does not do long term counseling or therapy with students. When a particular situation with a student comes up and is clearly beyond the skills of the animator, it is the animator’s responsibility to refer the student to a qualified professional with the expertise appropriate to the situation.
Several support groups for bereaved students are also run in collaboration with other members of the Pierrefonds Comprehensive Student Services Team. The group is a confidential and voluntary body with between 3 to 6 members that meets for six session.
The expectation is that the group would focus primarily on the future and would help each member learn to move forward despite the loss, the pain and the major changes each has experienced. Although the group will explore painful issues surrounding bereavement, the facilitators endeavour to ensure that such discussion be safe and gentle. The group is sensitive to letting the individual students set the agenda and no one is made to feel they have to say something.