CMN Hosts Circle Keeper Training at Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation

CMN was proud to partner with the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation (PBMR) in Chicago, IL to offer a four-day training in restorative circle keeping this July.

Sitting and sharing in a circle is a foundational restorative practice that helps strengthen relationships, foster belonging, or hold difficult conversations. Restorative circles (also called circle process or peacemaking circles) can be utilized to support community building, reintegration, and healing for those impacted by trauma, harm, and conflict. Receiving adequate training is important for creating safe and inclusive spaces, especially in cases of harm.

The sixteen participants of this year’s training came from various ministries across seven states — including a mental health center with Catholic Charities, a Tennessee-based non-profit advocating for formerly incarcerated people, a Christian urban ministry organization, Catholic high schools, and various parish social justice ministries. 

Throughout the four days, participants gained skills in convening and facilitating community-building circles alongside seasoned circle keepers Pamela Purdie and Sr. Janet Ryan, OSF. CMN continues to accompany them as they discern opportunities to utilize this practice in the unique context of their respective parishes, ministries, and communities.

Here’s a glimpse into this fruitful, engaging, and truly restorative time!

Throughout the training, participants sat in circle to experience and practice facilitating this restorative process.
They created a centerpiece in the middle of the room made of items chosen and created by all of the participants. The centerpiece of a restorative circle is meant to ground members of the circle in their shared values.
In circle, relationships come before issues, and it is key to accept that building trust takes time. Training participants modeled this by allowing time to build strong connections with one another through fun and creative activities, but also courageous and vulnerable sharing. We know they will continue to support one another in their journeys ahead.
Participants learned and practiced the power of celebrating each other’s achievements, yet another way of lifting up each other’s dignity and interconnectedness — core principles of restorative circles.
There were several opportunities throughout the training for participants to break off into small groups and discuss how they envisioned utilizing restorative circles in the communities they returned to after the training.
We had such a wonderful time training with this fantastic group!


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