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Lavalla200> 2018 - Week 3



Formation on assertive communication and intercultural experiences

28/05/2018: Italy

The group of candidates of 2018 in the program of the Marist Institute of International Communities for a new beginning (Lavalla200>) is carrying out its formation since the beginning of May.

After the first week in the general house, it is now taking place in San Martín a Monte. Here is a description of the period from May 21 – 26.

The third week began with the communication module of Louise Evans. She presented to the participants the methodology of the five chairs as forms of communication.

Each of them has a colour, an animal and a specific characteristic:

  • The red chair (Jackal) represents the attack and criticism of others, resulting in conflict, suffering and separation.
  • The yellow chair (Hedgehog) consists of victimizing, hurting oneself and annulling.
  • There is also the green chair (Suricato), which brings the perspective of pause, waiting and curiosity. The profile of this communication is observation; the absence of judgments, calming one’s thoughts, the questions and the weighting on possible options that can be made from a situation.
  • The blue chair (Dolphin) consists of analyzing the feelings and the needs that pass within one’s self. It highlights the responsibility for what is said and done. The result of this communication is self-awareness; The individual feels empowered and assertive.
  • Finally, the purple chair (Giraffe), which provides empathy and analysis of situations from what others are feeling and specifying. It is a communication connected with itself and with others.

According to the laywoman Silvia Pérez, from Bolivia, the module was very special, since the types of communication could facilitate life in fraternity throughout the Lavalla200> experience in the mission places. She affirms that, with this module, it is possible to recognize weaknesses in the communication and also highlight one’s own qualities for a more assertive communication.

Throughout the week, the participants were allowed to have a time for silence and contemplation of everything that they had learned. They were allowed a retreat to make a personal synthesis, followed by a sharing with the rest of the group.


In the second part of the week, the group received the visit of some people who already lived or were living in international communities: members of the International Community of Siracusa (Italy) of the Lavalla200 Project>, who shared the experience they live with refugees; Br Pau Fornells (secretary of the Superior General), who spoke about his experience with indigenous peoples of Ecuador; and laywoman Rosa Schiaffino (Spain), who was a volunteer in Thailand and part of the class of 2018 of the formation programme.

Br Pau Fornells addressed the importance of considering community life as a mission space for brothers and lay people, immersed in the spirituality that is revealed daily.

He believes an intercultural community must let itself be penetrated by God’s seeds and suggests that its members place themselves in the position of observers and listeners.

“More than wanting to teach intellectually, you have to learn through observation and careful listening,” he says.

Brother Ricky Gomez (Venezuela), from the community of Syracuse, shared that, in a Lavalla200> community, the most important aspect is what is experienced and not necessarily what is done; Many times work is a natural consequence from the construction of life in fraternity.

At the end of the week, the participants celebrated the birthday of two participants, Juliana Fontoura (Brazil) and Rosa Schiaffino (Spain), with a community celebration.

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