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Dignity: March 14-15, 2024



Term: N/A

Credits: 0


Term: Spring 2024

Credits: 3


Term: Spring 2024

Credits: 3

Session Recordings

MARCH 14, 2024
MARCH 15, 2024


Myles N. Sheehan, S.J., M.D.

Director of the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics, Georgetown University

Dr. Sheehan is a Jesuit priest, physician, and, since December 2020, the Director of the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University, where he also serves as Professor of Medicine and the David Lauler Chair of Catholic Health Care Ethics. A graduate of Dartmouth College and Dartmouth Medical School, he trained in Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, practiced in these fields, and served until 2009 as the Senior Associate Dean at Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine, Professor of Medicine, and the Ralph P. Leischner Professor and Chair of the Leischner Institute for Medical Education. Dr. Sheehan entered the Society of Jesus in 1985, was ordained to the priesthood in 1994, and pronounced final vows in the Society in 2005. From 2009 to 2014 Dr. Sheehan was the Provincial for the New England Province of the Society of Jesus and from 2015 to 2021 he served as the Provincial Delegate for Senior Jesuits for the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces of the Society of Jesus. His interests in ethics include end of life care, care of older persons, spirituality in healthcare, and medical education.

Sensory Focus

During this session, you will embark on a sensory experience of touch on the potter’s wheel. As your hands sink into the cool, yielding texture of the clay, you’ll discover a profound connection between touch and transformation.

Centered around the rhythmic motion of the wheel, this experience mirrors the ebb and flow of leadership, demanding balance, patience, and adaptability. As you coax the clay upward, each movement reflects the nuanced decisions and actions that define your leadership journey. With each curve and contour, you’ll contemplate the importance of intentionality and vision, recognizing that every touch carries meaning, just as every decision shapes the trajectory of your team or organization.

There are no predetermined outcomes or right answers—only the opportunity to embrace the process of discovery. As you navigate the messiness of experimentation, the beauty of imperfection, and the joy of creation, you’ll reconnect with your innate creativity, curiosity, and resilience as leaders.

Article: Clay and Consciousness

Article: Sensation of Touch

Dacher Keltner on Touch

Session Pre-work

Ahead of the session, please spend 1-2 hours reviewing the pre-work.

Nadirah X - Dignity

Pope Francis Asks Chicago...

Declare Dignity: TEDx Talks

Talking to Strangers

Life and Dignity of the Human Person

Love Liberates

Article: The Sense of an Ending

Love and Boundaries in Medicine

Spiritual Core of Human Experience

How ERDs Can Deepen Our Catholic...

Podcast: Catholic Health USA

The Ethical and Religious Directives

E-Portfolio Inspiration

Include one of these activities in your e-portfolio.

Love Liberates by Maya Angelou

Watch the video “Love Liberates” and reflect in your journal on the following questions:

  1. As you were growing up, who mirrored back to you your own dignity and your own worth? When did you feel most seen and known and loved?
  2. As an adult, who have been the significant people in your life who have encouraged you and helped you to believe in yourself?  When do you feel most loved and supported today?
  3. Reflect on your own experiences at work:
    • How has working in healthcare challenged or supported your sense of your own dignity and the dignity of others?
    • When have you felt empowered or disempowered by the leadership style of someone else? 
    • How have you been a source of inspiration and/or support for others?

We encourage you to journal, allowing for free flow response.  The journaling portion is just for you. 

In your E-Portfolio, include a one-page summary of your experience with the video and reflection questions.  You can also choose to create a collage with photos and key words describing the significant people that have impacted your own sense of self-worth.

Dignity of your Body

Much more than a concept, dignity is a way of seeing, being, and acting towards yourself and others. For this assignment, we invite you to focus on your own dignity by practicing taking care of your body.  For one week, we invite you to spend 5-10 minutes each day on any of the following activities: feel free to use as many or as few as you wish but focus on at least one each day.

  • During meals- pick one meal or one snack during the day that you will choose to eat with intention by slowing down your eating, tasting each bite, noticing how it feels in your mouth as you consume it, noticing the different ingredients, smelling the food, etc.
  • While walking- focus on the way the ground feels beneath your feet, the way the weight shifts from side to side as you walk, take in your environment by looking at the details of what surrounds you, notice if you can smell any scents or hear any sounds.
  • Showering or washing your hands- this can be a rich activity for your senses.  Rather than thinking about what you might have to do next as you shower or wash your hands, we invite you to perceive how the water feels on your skin, notice its temperature, smell the scent of the soap, listen to the sound of the running water, etc.
  • Petting your dog/cat- spend time noticing what it feels like for all your senses to play or pet your cat or dog (i.e. if you are throwing the ball you can focus on your own movement or if petting your dog/cat you can smell their paws, touch or brush their hair, etc.)
  • If you have young children, you might choose their night bath as the time to be present to your own experience through your senses—notice the sounds of your child’s voice over the running water, the feeling of the shampoo on your hands as you wash their hair, etc.
  • Other simple activities that focus on your body can be:
    • moisturizing your hands or feet
    • noticing and enjoying the smell and taste of your cup of coffee or tea in the morning
    • focus as you color, draw, or paint
  • As you can see these activities should not take extra time out of your day, but rather we invite you to pick an activity you are already doing and experience it with attention and intention. 

In your E-Portfolio, share which activity (or activities) you chose, and write a short paragraph describing your experience.  Alternatively, you could instead submit a photograph with a caption of the activity you chose; the caption should include your take-away from this activity.

Remember that you are doing the activity once each day for a week; repetition in this exercise is meant as a pathway into deepening awareness and increasing your ability to be present.

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