The faculty of the Felician Children’s Center in Jackson, Michigan met for their Retreat Day on Friday, September 2, 2022. The gathering took place at the Old Jackson State Prison Center. The speaker, Andrew Bartell, presented in the morning on “Solidarity with Those in Need” and “Values Based Decision Making,” relating to the type of work the teachers engage in while caring for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
“Solidarity with Those in Need” is one of the five core values of Felician ministries and involves ensuring that the needs of vulnerable people are met through advocacy and action. The Felician Children’s Center exemplifies compassionate nurturing, education, and advocacy for children and families. The Center offers infant, toddler, pre-school, and Montessori programs, providing a stabilizing influence for families as well as the foundation by which all children can reach their fullest potential.
In the afternoon, Tracy Smith-Jackson, Director of Felician Children's Center, gave the faculty funds to purchase items from Goodwill and explain their use in the classroom. This activity was followed by putting puzzles together. Unbeknownst to participants, each puzzle had a missing piece. It was then discovered that individual table groups might have a puzzle piece from another group. Whole group participation and collaboration was necessary for completion of the puzzles.
After a potluck luncheon, Tracy had everyone go on a Core Values Scavenger Hunt. Random groups of faculty members were selected and given a Felician Core Value for Ministry to find in the surrounding Jackson area. In addition to solidarity with those in need, the core values are: respect for human dignity, compassion, transformation, and justice & peace. Groups went out to search. Sister Mary Carolyn Ratkowski's group found a homeless shelter in the area with whom they shared their desserts. Each “core value” group contributed an appropriate photo or action with all assembled.
Sister Mary Juanita Szymanski, Mission Leader, led the opening and closing prayer, and along with the assistance of Tracy Smith-Jackson, organized the day. All who participated appreciated what they gained from the retreat.