Restorative Justice: Reconciliation and Peace-building

October 11, 2012 – 50 years of Vatican II

Sr. Filo Hirota, a Japanese, is the Superior General of the Sisters of Mercy.  She has been involved internationally  in JPIC for many years.

As introduction, Sr. Filo invited the participants to recall what they have heard in the past days, drawing their attention to relationships with self, with people, with the reality of the world as it is connected to the universe, and with God.

Then she presented the major situations that create violence in the world:

  • Hunger
  • Armed conflicts
  • The military and weapon industry
  • The situation of refugees and those who are forced to migrate
  •  The destruction of biodiversity
  • The uncontrollable phenomenon of urbanization
  • Domestic violence and violence in school and workplace
  • Exacerbation of violence in computer games (virtual reality) and media in general
  • The trivialization of human suffering
  • Loneliness, anxiety, and frustration

All these have transformed our world and society.  Humans have gone through the process of dehumanization that led to what we consider now as broken world. In the face of all these, what does God seem to be telling us? What is our prophetic mission? As SSpS community, what is our message to the world today?

Powerpoint presentation “About Us” (click here)

The participants were given time for personal reflection and group sharing.  Each group was asked to synthesize their reflections in a word, drawing, or symbol and to place them in a gallery.  And in silence, all were invited to view the gallery and to reflect on what they have seen.

Non-violence of Jesus

Sr. Filo then shared in the afternoon her reflections on the way that Jesus practiced non-violence in his life and how the Gospel shows his smart and creative way of responding to situations of violence.  She also gave examples of people who have taken the path of peace by practicing non-violence – St. Francis of Assisi, Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King and others.

She later explained the meaning of restorative justice and how it facilitates conflict resolution and transformation in the lives of individuals, communities and countries. To deepen the presentation the participants were given the following reflection points:

  1. How do I/we live the non-violence of Jesus in my/our personal life?
  2. How do I/we live the non-violence of Jesus in my/our mission?
  3. How do I/we live the non-violence of Jesus in the society where we are?
  4. How important is non-violence in our life and mission?
  5. What are the challenges?

Powerpoint on “Non-violence” (for translation) – coming soon

Is there such a thing as “just war”?

The third point that Sr. Filo dwelt on was the meaning and consequences of war.  She questioned the concept of “just war” and proposed the concept of “just peace”.  She also talked about conflict resolution and steps to overcome destructive anger, leading to forgiveness and restoration of the dignity of the person who is both the victim and perpetrator of violence. The process must take place with the help and support of the community.

Powerpoint on “Just War” (for translation) – coming soon

In the making..

  • Video of seminar participants and
  • Video of cultural night
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