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Document Details :
Title: Experiences from a Ritual of Forgiveness
Subtitle: An Empirical Study of the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Conducted in a Norwegian Prison
Author(s): HOLM, Vegard , HENRIKSEN, Jan-Olav
Journal: Studies in Spirituality
Volume: 29 Date: 2019
This article examines the experiences of six inmates in a Norwegian Prison, conducting a 21-day Ignatian retreat. We have chosen to focus on one central ritual where forgiveness is the overall theme. This ritual becomes a point of departure for a process of self-reflection. The research question in this article is: How is the ritual of forgiveness experienced by the participants and what characterize these experiences? An additional sub-question is: What interpersonal dynamics are following the retreat experience? We explore the ritual of forgiveness in the prison context, with its practices, symbols, signs, silence and important others. We argue that the ritual establishes a unique context, provides new resources for a process of self-examination, for self-interpretation and transformation. We examine the process of self-reflexivity from both discursive and somatic dimensions. The findings show an improved ability of empathy and mentalization, and increased hope for a better future; all of which are important perspectives in the process of reorientation and the transformation of the self.