b'HOW THE CIRCLE PROCESS WORKSThe circle process is about creating a sacred group has come to a consensus on anyspace where peoplethose who have a In indigenous societies, cominggiven issue. After establishing a sacredstake in the outcomecome together to together in a circle is as natural as space, we start by asking some simplelisten to one another, share their deepest sitting around a fire and reflecting questions such as: What happened? Howtruths and find agreement or solidarity. on shared concerns. It inspires a did it happen? What can we do to makeRosalyn Collier, a St. Marys University it right? says Sister Grace. You alwaysalum and co-founder of the PeaceCenter different quality of conversation. have a talking piecea cross, a heart,in San Antonio, has used the circle process People tell stories and sharea stickwhoever has that piece is thein her work for more than 25 years. We experiences. We are more likely one who talks. You keep sending the talk-begin with every participant sitting in a to speak from our hearts and listen ing piece around the circle until everyonecircle, which is symbolic, she says. It means has said what they want to say, and itseveryone is included. Everyone counts. We from our hearts. We want toclear that people are in agreement.start with meditationabout 10 minutes experience each other not asCircle process is simple, but powerful,to feel our hearts expand, breathing in adversaries but as fellow human says Mary Beaudoin, chair of MSJCsand out. We spend another 10 minutes in beings. We find a place where we Death Penalty Abolition and Restorativesilence. This is key. We use meditation to Justice team, who recently took part in aslow down and look at our lives in ways can share what is going on with Circle Keeper training workshop sponsoredthat connect us to other people and con- us, whatever that may be. by Catholic Mobilizing Network and thenect us to ourselves. Our minds are oftenLIving Justice Press Precious Blood Ministries of Reconciliation10 steps ahead of our souls. If you dont in Chicago. The power of this process isslow down and tune in, you can forget about being present to others. that it creates a safe space where every person can share his orCircles are facilitated by a trained circle keeper whose job is her deepest feelings, leading to better understanding, compassionto ensure that all members of the circle are heard and that the and resolution. PHOTO: ROBIN JERSTADMembers of MSJCs Death Penalty Abolition and Restorative Justice team and others participate in the circle process at Holy Rosary parish in San Antonio.14 Call 1.800.348.4732'