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Celebrating Forgiveness Day

Celebrating Forgiveness Day

Chestnut Hill College’s Institute for Forgiveness & Reconciliation (IFR) presented a “Forgiveness Forum” on  April 4. This year’s theme was Undoing the Knots that Keep Us Bound.Monsignor Jack Harris (left) stands with Sister Cathy Nerney (right), following his presentation.

This annual event, held on the Wednesday after Easter, is a way to recognize that everyone has the chance to begin again, to start a new life, and to realize that the success of one’s future depends on the ability to let go. 

For two weeks prior to Easter Sunday, CHC students, faculty and staff wrote on white ribbons about the knots they would like to see unbound. The ribbons were then tied in various spots around campus.

The Forgiveness Forum offered activities, anecdotes, discussion and a consideration of the knots you would like to have undone in your personal life.

“There is a gift we’re given that helps us undo the knot,” says Cathy Nerney, SSJ, Ph.D., director of The Institute for Forgiveness & Reconciliation. “For people of faith, the nudge is called grace, God’s gift/invitation to be free, to be unbound. We don’t do it on our own, but God needs our cooperation.

Students took part in a circle during the Forgiveness Forum, coming together to share as one.

“There is an inner urge to be free of the hurt or bitterness that happens to us. We can’t just give it to ourselves. We need to pay attention, and when the gift is offered, we do the work of letting it go. There is a power at work greater than we are.”

That evening, Monsignor Jack Harris shared his lifetime of work undoing the knots on Death Row in his presentation, Undoing the Knots in our Criminal Justice System. 

Msgr. Harris has spent the last 14 years ministering to death row prisoners in Arkansas. A feature article about him and his work was published in National Catholic Reporter in October 2017.

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