An Evening With Fr. Michael Lapsley
On a beautiful Arizona evening in May, people gathered in Spirit in the Desert’s Ravenscroft Chapel, excited to meet and listen to Fr. Michael Lapsley, the Anglican missionary priest who was active in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.
Among the crowd were, staff members and participants of Fr. Michael’s Institute for the Healing of Memories, supporters of Spirit in the Desert, and Mayor Les Peterson and Vice Mayor, John Crane of the City of Carefree.
Fr. Michael’s courage is admired throughout the world. In 1990, after being ejected from South Africa because of his protests against apartheid, Fr. Michael suffered the loss of his hands and the sight in one eye from a letter bomb sent to him by a supporter of the pro-apartheid government. Recovering from his traumatic experience, Fr. Michael founded the Institute for Healing of Memories to help victims around the world who suffer with emotional, psychological, spiritual wounds, and moral injury. Spirit in the Desert has been hosting Healing of Memories retreats for veterans and first responders since 2013.
The highlight of the evening was listening to Fr. Michael, as he serenely sat on a settee in front of the group—he calls it “welcome to my living room”– describing the need for healing our divisions between races, genders, religions, and politics. He said a path to healing is found in the Healing of Memories workshop, where people share their personal stories of wounds and suffering. He said, “When our painful stories are shared, acknowledged, and reverenced, we can take steps toward healing and wholeness.”
Listening to Fr. Michael speak and visiting with him during the reception was to be with a man who has found spiritual wholeness after trauma and loss and who is committed to helping people around the globe experience healing.