• Janis Avellana

Current Student Reflection

By Liz Baile


A thought-provoking reflection from a current student, Liz Baile, on what article has had the most impact on her to date and why.


And I am Listening…


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My name is Liz Baile and I live in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. I love the North’s raw beauty of land, water, and sky, and yes, even the weeks of -40 temperatures. As a Catholic educator who oversees support services for the most vulnerable children and youth who live there, I have experienced many incredible people, gifts, and tragedies in my northern vocation.


The email invitation to consider the CWLF Spiritual Leadership Program was one of the many emails last December. As an introvert, invitations can be either intimidating or a good thing. A passionate, sometimes reluctant leader I was tempted to delete but I didn't, and why I am writing this article. I am continuing to give space for the Holy Spirit to capture and open my heart further. To openly share my faith journey about letting the ordinary become extraordinary. But it is also about my commitment to being active in the importance to Indigenous and Non-Indigenous relations with Canada’s RC's, calls to Action was the other reason. As a Northerner, “living well together” with the Indigenous people is my life path and God’s call to serve. Like many, I am listening to understand and deconstruct “otherness” and be part of the solution. Believing that I knew I needed deeper interior spiritual work to strengthen the commitment.


One article that stood out for me in Module 3 is David Ransom’s, Spiritual Leadership. Ranson uses three stories to compare Jesus' leadership and what is essential to effective spiritual leadership for our current context: grief, hope, and mercy. As someone who works to support the effects of grief, this resonated because it intertwines the fragility and longevity of grief in its many forms as we live our lives as human beings. It reinforces God's promise of Love being able to endure all things and is stronger than death. It deepens the concept that grief is universal and those with Hope can achieve the unachievable. God sent his son to model how to be a "Custodian of Hope." This frame of being a “protector” and “doer” of hope was impactful to me. How can I help others hold grief differently in their bodies, hearts, and spirit? What more can I be doing in times of global crisis as it ripples and impacts our little worlds? I am learning that a leader’s responsibility for protecting and accompanying others towards God’s goodness really is in the small simple acts of every day. With intention, I can be lighthearted even in the most difficult of situations by staying rooted in loving, playing, working, and not overthinking it. I can abide and rest more and “let come" to the first Custodian of Hope, Jesus. By fixing my gaze on the power of His words and peace-filled deeds especially when I am stuck on the journey. Hope is Eternal Light for the world and of the world.


With every module, I am humbled by everyone's willingness and efforts to share ideas about fears, hopes, equality, suppression, and tremendous responsibilities. I feel the tender care and thoughtfulness of each module, the collective wisdom, and ongoing support. God intends all of us to be models of hope. Every person has a unique role in ensuring justice for all. Listening and reading the diversity of my cohort's posts in this program have confirmed that for me. As my fellow sisters in Christ have expressed, we are in God’s good hands and company! And as the Dene Elders say: “We must lean on each other to discover our gifts.”


Keep company with Me and you will learn to live freely and lightly. Matthew 11:30.

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