Enneagram learning day: Camrose (Vincentian) Associates


On May 8, 2015, the Camrose Associates gathered at the home of Pat Niehaus for our annual retreat, facilitated by Sister Jeannette Filthaut. To prepare for the topic of the Enneagram, we had previously chosen our personality types and came to the retreat to learn more about them.

The day began with a meditation and song. Reflection questions were based on the Associates’ Directional Statement and asked us to individually consider: What challenges you? What excites you? And how will the directional statement be implemented? 

In the introduction to the Enneagram, Sr Jeannette explained that it is a very old tool used by the Sufis and adopted by the Jesuits for self-discovery and spiritual growth. It merges psychological and spiritual understanding. The Ennegram is based on nine numbers (Greek enneas means nine) to describe nine personality types. Through insight to our position on the circle of nine types, we are enabled to more readily respond to the sacred presence of others. Each personality type is characterized as a negative compulsion (the avoidance of something), but it also has positive characteristics . While these nine types are present in all of us, one of them is truest to whom we are. Where our attention goes is where our energy flows. 

The self has three major centres for functioning: the body or gut, the heart, and the head. Gut people, types 8, 9, & 1, are concerned with being. Heart people, types 2, 3, & 4 are concerned with relationships. Head people, types 5, 6, & 7, are concerned with thinking. The ego selects one of the three centres as the way to function as a person, which results in an imbalance in human functioning. The Enneagram offers a path of self-awareness that serves as a transition into a new way of being, enabling us to be more compassionately present to others.

Following a delicious lunch and much laughter, we viewed a video in which individuals described their number types. Then each of us quietly reflected on Biblical mentors such as John the Baptist or St. Paul, from our number type, read Scripture to gain clearer insight into the character, and responded to questions such as: What characteristics of this particular type does this mentor display?
The day ended with prayer. We left the retreat with a sense of enlightenment about ourselves and greater understanding of each other as we journey together. Our sincere thanks go to Sr. Jeannette for her direction and understanding.

(Missing from photos is Dr. Suna Smith who had to leave before pictures were taken.)

Pat Niehaus (left) and Sister Jeannette Filthaut