NewsEventsSIGNIS in India: one year ago (I) 

SIGNIS in India: one year ago (I) 

In January 2020, nine young communicators from the four corners of the world embarked on a transformative journey to India – venturing into the unknown, stretching their limits, and trusting in God’s will and God’s way. Over the next four months, they attended the Global Fellowship Programme on Compassion and Social Communications, the result of a partnership between our Association and the  Xavier University of Bhubaneswar (XUB)

After becoming the first generation of young communicators to graduate from the programme, our fellows returned to their home countries, carrying with them new knowledge, skills, and lifelong memories.  And so, one year later, we reached out to some of our fellows, asking them to reflect upon the personal and spiritual growth they gained through this experience. 

In this multi-part series, Solange from Argentina, Elena and Sandra from Mexico, Isaac from Togo and Xavier from Cuba share the most powerful lessons that have changed their lives. 

What is the biggest lesson this experience has taught you? 

Solange: I learned to appreciate everything I have and look at everything surrounding me with more respect and love. To find beauty in the dialogue with what is different and commit to creating better societies based on compassion and a genuine love for all the forms of life. The biggest lesson was to deconstruct everything I took for granted. 

Elena: To this day, I continue to find life lessons after the profound journey I took not only to India but also inside myself. One of them is learning to lose the fear of the new, of the unknown, to risk trying what one has in mind. I learned to trust others, to be who one is without fear of what others will say. I learned that one is built, grown and transformed by those around us. 

Isaac: The fellowship allowed me to explore local and global socio-ecological issues. Furthermore, thanks to the interdisciplinary and the inter-faith orientations, the critical readings, the reflective and contemplative exchanges I have had every day with my fellows and the teachers, I matured new knowledge and wisdom. This experience has taught me to be mindful of my interconnection with my community and especially the interconnection with the common home. 

Xavier: Since I travelled to India, I have been trying to make sense of many experiences, voices, spaces and people. The greatest clarity I have acquired has a lot to do with the word “community”. Only as part of a group can one see their own weaknesses and strong points, their capacity to work, to pray and to live together; all that we can learn from others if we can call them friends. But my journey has to do, as well, with the word “solitude”, because only when I was outside of my country, outside of my language and familiar spaces could I find out a couple of truths about my essence, my beliefs and the core of my writing. The confluence and balance between community and solitude helped me understand where to go next, what to do now. 

Sandra: To free oneself from thinking you know and understand life: from the person next to you to the continent next to yours. From the moment I got to the Indian airport, I could see all the different religions, dresses and languages that coexisted there. It was extremely humbling: when we feel we understand codes, people, train of thoughts and life, we lose so much of the wonders of being human, of being here and now and alive; in that, India makes you practice mindfulness. But what was also beautiful is that I also received the motivation from our mentors and mates to feel free to be different and be more myself. When everything is so complex and different, I guess, you get in touch with your own complexity and differences.     


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