Author Archive: directorifi

Mother Forgives Her Daughter’s Abductor

The Telegraph, London, England – Madeleine McCann was abducted from her bed while her family was visiting Portugal six years ago this month. She was three years old at the time and has not been seen since. Her mother, Kate, says she spent years despising the person who took her daughter but that she no longer has to understand the motive behind the abduction to offer forgiveness.

“I think I could probably forgive Madeleine’s abductor whatever the circumstances” Mrs. McCann said in a recent interview. “I don’t know whether it’s simply because I’m stronger or because there’s no benefit in not forgiving someone. I can’t change anything and I don’t want to be eaten up by hatred and bitterness.”

She added, “And maybe there is an element of pity – what kind of person could do something like this? Of course, forgiveness will always be easier if there is remorse.”

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Bomb Victim Practices Forgiveness to Heal from Tragedy

Democracy Now, New York, NY – Father Michael Lapsley, a former South African anti-apartheid activist, has turned his personal tragedy into a clarion call for peace and forgiveness.

Fr Michael Lapsley

Father Michael Lapsley

In 1990, three months after the release of Nelson Mandela (who served 27 years in jail), the ruling de Klerk government sent Father Lapsley a parcel containing two religious magazines. Inside one of them was a highly sophisticated bomb. When Lapsley opened the magazine, the explosion blew off both of his hands, destroyed one eye and burned him severely.

Father Lapsley was not silenced by his injuries. He went on to work at the Trauma Centre for Victims of Violence and Torture in Cape Town, South Africa, which assisted the Commission for Truth and Reconciliation headed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He is now director of the Institute for Healing of Memories.

“The journey of healing is to move from being a victim to a survivor to a victor, to take back agency,” Father Lapsley says. “I realized that if I was filled with hatred and bitterness and desire for revenge, they would have failed to kill the body, but they would have killed the soul.”

Father Lapsley is currently in the United States and was recently interviewed by Democracy Now about his new book, Redeeming the Past: My Journey from Freedom Fighter to Healer. The book recently received the 2013 Andrew Murray-Desmond Tutu prize for the best Christian and theological book by a South African writer. Watch the video interview or read the full transcript: “Apartheid Regime Bomb Victim Father Michael Lapsley on Using Forgiveness to Heal From Tragedy.”

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Steps to Emotional Healing through Forgiveness: A Workshop for Caregivers – October 4

Dr. Robert Enright, founder of the International Forgiveness Institute, will be giving a talk entitled, “The Steps to Emotional Healing through Forgiveness,” from 11 a.m. to noon on Friday, October 4, 2013. The talk is specifically for the Chaplains of the Spiritual Care Services department and other staff at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics.

Robert D. Enright is professor in the Educational Psychology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is president of the International Forgiveness Institute, has lectured across the country, and has appeared on ABC’s 20/20.

Within psychology, the study and implementation of forgiveness therapy is now taken for granted. Thirty years ago, no such therapy existed. The pioneering research that opened this to the therapeutic world was started by Professor Enright. He has now extended this work to include forgiveness education in contentious regions of the world such as Belfast, Northern Ireland, Liberia, and Israel.

For additional information, contact: Sally Bowers, Chaplain,

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Forgiveness as Palliative Care for Cancer Patients and Family Members – Oct. 18

Dr. Robert Enright will be a featured speaker at the UW Carbone Cancer Center’s twelfth annual professional education conference, Advances in Multidisciplinary Cancer Care, on Friday, October 18, 2013. His presentation is titled “Forgiveness as Palliative Care for Cancer Patients and Family Members.”

For additional information, contact: Craig Robida, public relations,

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Bully Blues Busters: Positive Ways to Promote Kindness

Natural Awakenings, Naples, FL – Dr. Robert Enright’s Anti-Bullying Forgiveness Program is one of two anti-bullying programs featured in the February issue of Natural Awakenings, a publication that has more than 3 million readers in 82 US markets. According to Sharon Bruckman, founder of the 20-year-old magazine, “Our job is to keep our finger on the pulse of advancing thought in order to keep everyone apprised of the best healthy-life choices available to them.”

According to the Natural Awakenings article, most school anti-bullying programs focus on the prevention of unwanted behaviors. But Dr. Enright, co-founder of the International Forgiveness Institute, has developed a uniquely different approach.

“Because those that engage in bullying are often filled with rage from having been bullied themselves, they get to a point that they don’t care about the consequences of their actions, including detention,” Dr. Enright says. “Our program is meant to take the anger out of the heart of those that bully, so they bully no more.”

The National Education Association estimates that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fears of being attacked or intimidated by other students.

That Natural Awakenings article resulted in WZZM13 ABC TV in Grand Rapids, MI inviting Dr. Matthew Clark to be a guest on the 9 am talk show called Take Five & Company. Dr. Clark, Psy.D., runs The Clark Institute–Private Practice Psychotherapy for Children, Adolescents, and Adults in Grand Rapids. During that 4-minute TV segment, which you can watch at Positive Ways to Promote Kindness in Children,” Dr. Clark mentions the IFI, suggests viewers go to the IFI website, and gives the IFI web address.

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