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13 January 2023

Something good for everyone at Pembridge House

A happy gathering at Pembridge House

Where can young professional women go to make sense of the barrage of ideas, opinions and information confronting them every day?  Answer: DHEF centre, Pembridge House, on Monday evenings. 2022 was a landmark year for Pembridge House. 60 years ago young women started coming in through the front door to find cultural and spiritual formation, friendship and much more.  60 years on, this hasn’t changed.

In 2022, art, literature, medical ethics and films were among the topics covered by experts in the field, who opened up insights on these big topics. Emma is a doctor and she summed up the benefits of the Monday talks: “They cover everyday human, cultural and social questions that affect all of our society as a whole and us as individuals.”

Beautiful messages

The rich programme of events in 2022, as in every year, aimed to enhance all aspects of life. Did you know that academic studies have found that those who read regularly not only live longer, but also are less stressed and more empathetic?  Miriam Helmers, MA, looked at the benefits of reading imaginative writing, with a focus on Charles Dickens and the Harry Potter books.

“Read yourself happy & healthy: the appeal of Dickens and Harry Potter” talk by Miriam Helmers

Artist Carmen Sanchez-Teran answered the question: “What (on earth) is going on in contemporary art?” Many of us ask ourselves this when looking at contemporary art and wondering what is in front of us. Lourdes is a Gallery Assistant and she found this talk particularly interesting: “I learned to try to understand contemporary art better and that you can use art to transmit beautiful messages.” Itziar also gained insight from Carmen’s talk. She said that she benefitted from Monday evenings at Pembridge House because the talks “cover a wide range of topics so you can always learn new things or see things from a different perspective.”

Beware what you watch

Are we being brainwashed by what we watch?

Delivering messages was also a theme of “Let’s talk about how series and films are made – Are you being brainwashed?”, a talk given by filmmaker Paola G. Camerero. Commenting on this talk Monica, who works for a luxury footwear brand, said it had brought home to her how TV series and movies can affect our behaviour and lifestyle.

Paola works in finance, and her take-home message from the talk on TV and films was: “Series are moulded to the interest of the person/organisation which finances them, so question what you see there.” And Paula, a teacher and maternity nurse, found it useful to know how Netflix controls what pops up on the screen when we use it. For her, “having a filter to select more intentionally what we want to see” was a standout message.

Valeria Bonilla spoke about six ways to take back control of your life

Finding a good work-life balance is a perennial challenge, so Valeria Bonillo’s talk in July: “Feel work is controlling your life?” was especially useful. Paola summed up this talk: “Make time for you. Not everything is about work. Find the balance.”

End of life

Dr Teresa Merino is a Palliative Care consultant who has worked in hospices in Spain and the UK.  Her talk, “Concepts to live and die by”, was particularly timely as discussions about euthanasia and assisted suicide continue. Dr Merino’s talk focussed on “Samaritanus bonus”, a letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith “on the care of persons in the critical and terminal phases of life.”

Respecting and promoting human dignity when giving care to the sick at critical and terminal stages

After hearing Dr Merino’s talk, Claudia, an Account Manager, made a point of reading “Samaritanus bonus.” She said: “Some concepts about this very delicate topic were not easy to understand and Teresa Merino managed to give clarity and context.”

A small oasis

Is DHEF fulfilling its mission, at Pembridge House, to “help people to fulfil their potential and contribute to making the world a better place”? A resounding “yes” is definitely the answer. Ana, a paralegal, says that what she likes most about Monday evenings at Pembridge is that “the activities are focussed on our spiritual growth from knowledge, in other words, stimulating our way of thinking intellectually.”

Monday evenings for Monica are “the motor of the week”, which help her to “bring light to my surroundings.”  For Paola they are “a small oasis in the chaos of work, life and the city. A space to remember who we are.” For Emma, Pembridge is a place “where I can grow fully as a person.”  And Lourdes says that everyone she has met at Pembridge “has given me something good.”  

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