Returning to Spirit
Returning to Spirit© (RTS) is a non-profit organization that designs and delivers workshops and training programs for reconciliation, especially within the context of residential school issues. The focus of the workshops is to move people forward through the principles of personal empowerment. This goes beyond healing; it provides conditions for transformation in personal, family, community and organizational life.
Returning to Spirit was initiated and developed by Marc Pizandawatc, an Algonquin from Kitiganzibi First Nation and Ann Thompson, a Sister of St. Anne from BC. The two met during a workshop in Yellowknife and from their conversation the Returning to Spirit program was born.
Returning to Spirit, as its name implies, is not about superficial change but is rather a path of transformation. It is a way for persons to return to deep spirit, the precious being each of us is before pain and trauma sealed off full access to that sacred source. The workshops create the possibility for individuals and groups consciously to create a future based on forgiveness, trust, collaboration and appreciation.
The Returning to Spirit workshop is a three-part process that involves intense week long reflection by First Nations people in one session and by church (non-aboriginal) people in another session, before both communities are brought together for conversation, healing and reconciliation.
Until recently only Roman Catholic priests and religious participated in the church session, but in May 2007 the first Anglican priest, United Church minister and lay people benefited from this life-changing experience. Since then persons from all walks of life, especially those involved in ministry and helping professions, have taken part and found it beneficial both professionally and personally.