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I went to India for a three week service-learning trip. While there, I experienced the culture of India as I volunteered at Prem Dan, Mother Teresa’s home for the destitute and dying. I spent eight mornings at Prem Dan allowing me the opportunity to have a life changing experience and to participate in a third world social service. I use a case study design to explore my experiences as I share my understanding of dying; specifically, I analyze this process within a context of a third world country before and after my experience as a volunteer at Prem Dan.
In 1531, Juan Diego, a poor, indigenous man, encountered the Virgin Mary at a hill called Tepeyac outside Mexico City. Since this encounter in Colonial Mexico, the marginalized in all of Latin America no longer live theology the same way. In this paper, I question whether Juan Diego’s encounter with the Virgin Mary is merely a mystical experience, or the annunciation of a prototype for a Latin American liberation theology to come in the middle of the 20th century which affirms that God dwells amongst the marginalized. This presentation includes a synopsis of Juan Diego’s story, a window into context from which this story arises and a basic introduction to liberation theology. Through careful interpretation of the legend and of relevant modern liberation theologians, I conclude that the thematic similarities between the two cannot be mere coincidence, but that the legend of Juan Diego is prototypical liberation theology.
Civil war, child soldiers, a nation struggling to survive under the weight of a corrupt, coercive rebel army-- this may sound like the setting to a silver-screen movie debut, but for the nation of Uganda this is an unsettling daily reality. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group initially formed in Northern Uganda, has maimed, looted, raped, and killed thousands of innocent Ugandan people. Through the use of coercion, the LRA has abducted countless children to be used as soldiers. This war-torn nation lacks resources such as food, housing, money and counseling services. This presentation explores the LRA’s involvement in Uganda as well as the lasting effect child soldiery has had on the entire Ugandan population. This presentation recounts recent first-hand field experience in the Ugandan bush. Uganda’s story is waiting to be told to anyone who will stop to listen.
The relationship between trauma and spirituality is complex and can be viewed in different ways. Many researchers have concluded that spirituality and a sense of meaning-making is helpful in the trauma recovery process. Trauma, specifically post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), has objective symptoms and outcomes for a person. A person’s relationship with spirituality after a traumatic event is varied and more individualistic than their trauma symptoms. While trauma symptoms are seen as more universal, spiritual reactions to trauma are viewed on a more personal level in the recovery process and outcomes. Spirituality and meaning-making have been correlated with better outcomes and attitudes for a person coping with a traumatic event. Further research is needed after correlating that spirituality and meaning-making is helpful in trauma recovery. How are ideals of spirituality and higher sense of being instilled in a person struggling with their beliefs after a traumatic event? How can spirituality be discussed within the counselor-client sessions?
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