Healing Violence


Healing Violence Committee Mandate

Rooted in the words of our Mission Statement, i.e.

- in response to the needs of the times

- to empower others, especially the poor and oppressed, to achieve a quality of life in keeping with their human dignity

- through promotion of structures and relationships of equality and mutuality

We move to concrete action to eradicate violence, especially against women and children.

We aim to raise awareness, to change attitudes and to take action to promote healing at 3 levels: personal, congregational, and societal, through education, networking and bursaries.

Healing Violence Committee Members:

Barbara Baker (contact): barbarabaker@cogeco.ca
Sr. Catherine Casey
Sr. Marie Dundon
Sr. Peggy Flanagan
Carol Groten
Sr. Frances O’Brien
Sr. Margo Shafer

Click to view Corporate Stance

The Healing Violence Committee of the Sisters of Providence is offering a one-day conference in September entitled Healing the Church: Addressing the Clergy Sexual Abuse Crisis. More information can be found at providence.ca/healingthechurch

Our committee was founded in 1998 and we have been working together since that time to address – to heal – the many ways violence is expressed in our society.

After hosting eight conferences and workshops to address various aspects of violence a few years ago, as allegations surfaced against some priests in this Archdiocese, we turned our attention to sexual violence in the Church. Some of our Sisters and some members of our Sunday faith community were distressed because they knew the accused priests. From our past work, we had focussed primarily on the irreparable damage suffered by victims of violence and how society often re-victimizes them. Consequently we created a process which allowed people to express their feelings freely with a hope of healing personal suffering. Two parishes in the area asked us to offer this process for their people.

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Healing the Church

Header: One-day conference. Healing the Church: Addressing the clergy sexual abuse crisis. September 12, 9-4:30, Kingston, Ontario

Who would benefit?Keynote speakerVenueFeesRegisterArchbishop’s endorsementSpread the word

Why are we having this conference?

This conference is being held by the healing violence committee of the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul. The healing violence committee has written an article about the confusion and suffering that prompted this conference.

Who would benefit from attending?

This conference is for anyone who has felt the effects of the crisis of clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic church, and the denial and secrecy that has often accompanied it. That includes:

  • All members of the Catholic church: laity, sisters, priests, deacons, seminarians
  • All involved in Catholic organizations
  • Those in counselling roles who work with people affected by this crisis
  • Anyone experiencing the shame of this crisis
  • Those who have experienced a loss of trust in church leadership, even a loss of faith, and who find themselves apart from the church

Keynote speaker

The sexual abuse of children and youth by Roman Catholic clergy is the most significant crisis in the history of the modern Church.

Sr. Nuala KennySr. Nuala Kenny is a physician — a paediatrician — who has walked through the clergy sexual abuse crisis in Canada from the beginning of the public revelations. She was a member of the special archdiocesan commission in St. John’s Newfoundland, looking into the sexual sexual abuse in the Irish Christian Brother’s Mount Cashel Orphanage. She writes that one of the assumptions of the ‘Winter Commission, in 1990, was that occurrences were rare and isolated could no longer be sustained. They were wrong, she says. And through more participation in enquiries — and being rocked by more revelations — she came to see that there is a hunger to speak of this openly in order to respond to the spiritual conversion and transformation to which this crisis calls us. She has since written the book Healing the Church: Diagnosing and Treating the Clergy Sexual Abuse Crisis. And with the support of her religious congregation, the Sisters of Charity, she has been offering workshops to dioceses throughout Canada, and down into the States as well.

Sr. Nuala using her medical training as the approach to this crisis, which she calls a turning point. She works with groups to name the problem, diagnose it properly, and create a prescription for healing and change. Her approach is open and honest — she talks about the crisis in a straightforward manner, naming its truth — but it’s also hopeful.

I am convinced it is a time of healing and purification. We can make that happen only by being open to the Spirit; only if we “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5)


We have a significant early bird discount for individuals and groups to encourage early registration! Everything closes down in the summer and we’d like to know who is coming before that happens. So please, take advantage and register early. Early bird cut-off is June 30.

Single registration: $25 before June 30 / $40 after
Group registration: $20 for each person in a group of five or more. This discount ends on June 30.
LUNCH INCLUDED in all registrations

Payment methods

All fees must be paid in advance, by cash, cheque or money order. Cheques can be made to the Sisters of Providence and mailed to:

Providence Spirituality Centre
P.O. Box 427
Kingston, ON
K7L 4W4

Please drop off cash payment rather than putting it in the mail. Please call 613-542-8826 to pre-arrange time due to a secure entrance at the Providence Spirituality Centre, 1200 Princess Street, Kingston.

The venue:

The conference will be held at the Providence Spirituality Centre which is connected to the Sisters of Providence Motherhouse at 1200 Princess Street, Kingston, Ontario. It is an accessible building.

To register:

There are three ways to register:

  • Use this online form. It will direct you for a single registration, multiple registrations, or for a group discount on registrations of five or more, if signed up by June 30. Payment must be made separately — please see payment options above.
  • By email
  • Phone: 613-542-8826

Endorsement of Kingston Archbishop Brendan O’Brien:

On September 12, 2015, the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul are holding a conference at their Motherhouse in Kingston entitled Healing the Church: Addressing the Clergy Sexual Crisis.

They have discussed this initiative with me, and I am pleased to support their efforts to deal with an issue that is very painful for many people.

Sister Nuala Kenny, the keynote speaker, has had many years of experience with this subject.  Her objective is to promote inclusion and healing for the greater good of all.

You can find out more about this conference at providence.ca/healingthechurch.

+ Brendan M. O’Brien
Archbishop of Kingston

Spread the word

Please let others know about the conference — and ask them to register early!



Women Do Peace

by Louise Slobodian

Keynote speaker Erna Paris. Her address is available at ernaparis.com

You know about best-laid plans? After 10 years of holding great conferences, the Congregation’s Healing Violence Committee had sworn off them. But then, a great synergy happened. The committee held a meeting with the International Women’s Day reps in Kingston, and invited PeaceQuest to join in, and lo and behold … Women Do Peace emerged. And it was good.

Held on March 8, International Women’s Day, the conference was active, participatory and engaging.

Renowned author Erna Paris was the keynote speaker and she brought both breadth and depth to her presentation. Moving between the tragedy of the Aboriginal women forgotten on the Highway of Tears in British Columbia to the Syrian women caught in a deadly conflict, she spoke of what gives women the “agency” – the ability to act – and what blocks this from developing. Key are empowerment, education, supportive families, economic opportunity and learning empathy. View full article »

New Vision for the future

Submitted by healing violence committee

Members of the Healing Violence Committee, left to right, standing: Catherine Casey sp, Peggy Flanagan sp, Margo Shafer sp, Carol Groten pa, Barbara Baker pa (contact)
left to right, seated: Marie Dundon sp, Council Liaison Frances O’Brien sp.

On October 11, 2011 members of the Healing Violence Committee met at Marillac Villa to reflect upon our 1994 mandate, and upon a new direction to which our Provident God is calling us at this time in our history.
View full article »

Change Makers

By Christine Ross

The Sisters of Providence are being celebrated as ‘Change Makers’— females who have made a difference. View full article »

by Christine Ross

Canada’s leading expert in cyber safety told a Kingston audience that anyone can be a victim of internet crime.

Rob Nickel, a former 14-year police veteran of the Ontario Provincial Police, who spent years working undercover with pedophiles, now travels across the world speaking to students and parents to raise awareness. His crusade has landed him guest appearances on both Oprah and Dr. Phil television shows. View full article »

The original committee was called Healing Violence Against Women. Our mandate to provide a major conference every two years over a period of ten years has been copmleted. These conferences, and the smaller workshops we arranged, were well attended. View full article »

By Sr. Peggy Flanagan

The rapid rate of technological changes, a part of the society in which we live, leaves many of us feeling a bit dizzy and unable to keep up with the latest innovations.

Change is inevitable, a law of life, as we all know. View full article »