As much as we would like to think we have control over what happens, the truth is, life will unfold in such a way that there will be incredible moments that take your breath away and there will be moments of darkness that will challenge every part of you. Although ceremonies are most often created to honour an individual or a couple, ceremony can be a powerful tool in gathering a community together in times of tragedy. When terrible, inexplicable things occur they not only affect individual members of a community, they affect the entire community as a whole. Each person will process and react to the event in a very unique way. They can feel very isolated and may question why they are responding the way they are. Creating a space for people to gather together to share in their shock and grief can prevent isolation and foster a sense of connection.
When tragedy struck our rural region on September 22 2015, there was an instinctive reaction to gather to try to comprehend the horrible acts that had taken place. The morning of September 22 ended with the murder of three beautiful, vibrant women at the hands of one man. Three days later, hundreds gathered by candle light to share in our collective shock and grief.

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Since then, we have gathered for a community healing ceremony four months after that tragic day and we recently commemorated the first anniversary of these senseless murders and we will continue to do so as a way of honouring the lives of these three women and as a way to remember that we do not suffer alone.

The Value of Community Ceremony

“When tragic events happen in a community many, many feelings arise. Everyone has ideas about how to make sense of what has happened and recipes for healing, often by coming together in solidarity. So often though everyone is affected and not thinking clearly about how to shape the gathering so that it flows smoothly.
This is where Julie shines! She takes in all of the thoughts, poems, stories and music and using her intuitive experience she creates a meaningful ceremony that encompasses ritual, music, candles and beautiful words that assists in a meaningful ceremony that touches everyone. Julie helps translate all of the raw emotion into a beautiful, respectful honouring! Thanks, Julie, for all you have done in Renfrew County.”
JoAnne Brooks, Centre Director, Women’s Sexual Assault Centre of Renfrew County

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