Journeying Together: CSAN Aspiring Leaders

On 22 and 23 April, Cohort 2 of the CSAN Aspiring Leaders programme met for their second residential at the Royal Foundation of St Katherine in London. The theme for this residential was the interpersonal realm of leadership. We were led by Sarah Broscombe, an experienced facilitator and leadership coach with extensive experience of the third sector. Sarah is also a spiritual director, rooted in the Ignatian tradition.

We began with a re-cap of some of our main themes, especially encounter, which Pope Francis has made a key theme of his Magisterium. Encounter over time is accompaniment, which draws its power and inspiration from the dignity of the human person, the foundational principle of Catholic Social Teaching.

Sarah led us skilfully into considering the different types of power which operate in any community or institution, be that positional power, resource power, expert power or personal power. We looked at this though the lens of self-awareness, a key component of leadership. Goleman’s matrix of self-awareness and the Johari Window helped us to understand how we might grow in self-awareness. When we grow in this way as leaders, we become more aware of the ‘inferences’ we make which can determine our view of people and situations.

After dinner we gathered in the beautiful chapel at St Katherine’s for an Examen, led by Sarah. The Examen helped us to understand self-awareness from a spiritual perspective, using the method developed by St Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. Where has the Spirit been a awork in us? What has lightened us, what has troubled us? This is what makes our programme distinctive and rooted in the Catholic faith. We use the resources and tools of our tradition to give depth to the insights of the secular leadership schools.

The following day, after an Emmaus Walk in twos down by the river and the sharing of concrete commitments in the interpersonal realm in our learning groups, we made our way to Romero House. After lunch up in the Pavilion, with its stunning views of London, we went next door to St George’s Cathedral to meet up with Julian Filochowski, the former Director of CAFOD, at the national shrine to St Oscar Romero. Julian gave a riveting talk on the history of the shrine and his own role in making it a reality. He then led us in a Romero-inspired liturgy to send us on our way enthused for social justice.

Our next residential will be in October, back at St Katherine’s, with a focus on organisational leadership and an introduction to Appreciative Enquiry. Between now and then, we will keep in touch with the cohort with monthly Zoom calls and the facilitators of each of the three learning groups will arrange immersion visits to various social action settings.

Raymond Friel
CEO, Caritas Social Action Network

For more information about the St Oscar Romero Shrine, please visit:

Aspiring Leaders participants, with facilitator of Sarah Broscombe
Sarah delivering input to the group
Julian Filochowski explaining the history of the St Oscar Romero Shrine