All humans are worthy

  • January 7, 2009
{mosimage}TORONTO - Living in apartheid South Africa, Sr. Ursula Mdadane says she grew up with a negative self-image.

But seeing herself through the eyes of faith and an adult development program called PRH — translated from French as personality and human relations — helped her discover her worth as a person.

“We are all created as unique gifts to others,” Mdadane told The Catholic Register.

Mdadane first took a PRH workshop in Johannesburg called “Who am I?” in 1985. Since then, Mdadane, a member of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood, was assigned to Canada and has been a PRH educator for the past seven years.

The program was founded by Fr. Andre Rochais in 1970. With its headquarters in Poitiers, France, PRH also has groups in about 30 countries around the world. In Canada, it runs workshops in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Prince Edward Island.

The non-profit organization is an international school of adult development which has programs designed for individuals who are seeking to increase their self-awareness. The theory behind PRH is based upon Rochais’ observations and the work of American psychologist Carl Rogers which emphasized that the core of the human person is positive and aspires towards growth. It also borrows from Rogers’ method where individuals are listened to non-judgmentally and encouraged in their self-discovery.

A “Who am I?” workshop is scheduled to run in Toronto at Stella Maris Residence from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1 and Feb. 6 to Feb. 8.

Mdadane said growing up in a big family led to constant comparisons by others to her 11 siblings and “seeing others as being more gifted than myself.” This, coupled with the apartheid system of racial segregation, shaped Mdadane’s self-image.

“We (black South Africans) were really put down as worthless people. We were told that we would never be good for anything, except just doing (manual) labour,” Mdadane said.

The education system for blacks wasn’t designed to prepare students for leadership roles, she added.

After the government stopped subsidizing the missionary schools, only a few missionary groups, including Roman Catholics, used their own resources to continue running private schools for black Africans.

Growing up in a racially segregated society, Mdadane said she remembers not being able to walk on certain streets, taking separate buses or seeing signs like “No blacks in this washroom.”

But Mdadane said her faith in God and her work with PRH programs helped her discover who she was called to be and to accept her gifts.

“Everyone has the possibility of growing into their true selves and living happy and fruitful lives,” she said.

To see a list of other PRH workshops in Canada,  visit For information on PRH courses in Ontario, contact Mdadane at (416) 920-6958 or .

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