Panel Discussion: Spiritual Health During COVID-19

In May 2020, MORSL held a panel discussion about maintaining our spiritual health in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. We spoke with leaders from faith communities, students and non-students, and contributors to our 2020 Radix issue, Well-Being. We talked about the pros and cons of online community, endless streams of Zoom meetings, and how to better balance different sectors of your life - particularly work and wellness - from home.

COVID-19 has thrown us for a loop, one that might complicate our ability to prioritize our spiritual health and well-being and that has caused many people, not least of all students, tremendous stress. The best way forward is communication. It might have looked different than it has in the past, but we were grateful to join together over Zoom to support one another and share tips about what we have learned over the last month.

Watch the full recording below.


Meet the Panelists

Sarah Alevy

Sarah Alevy will be entering her fourth year at McGill studying biochemistry and geography. She's been involved with Am McGill, an egalitarian and inclusive Jewish group, since her first year and is returning as President next year. To her, Judaism means a place to find community and provide space to take a break from busy days and studying.

Gilli Cohen

Gilli Cohen is a U2 Joint Honours student studying Political Science and Religious Studies. Gilli grew up in a Jewish home and identifies as Jewish with respect to his historical and ethnic identity. However, in terms of theological speculation, he finds wisdom throughout the world's traditions. He has begun Buddhist Vipassana meditation techniques in an attempt to embody such wisdom and as a student of religious studies, he has the privilege of encountering religious teachings, texts, sociological developments, and historical flashpoints on a daily basis. Gilli cherishes the diverse sources of information and wisdom he is exposed to through his studies and aspires to one day be one of those sources taught. 

Jordan Drury

Giordano is a U2 Bachelors of Arts student. He is one of the vice presidents of McGill’s Newman Catholic Students’ Society, the Catholic Club on Campus. He also has the privilege of working with CUCSA, Concordia’s Catholic Club, with CCO, a national Catholic ministry, and also as part of the youth ministry teams for the Maronite and Melkite Catholic churches. He grew up in a culturally Catholic Italian home here in Montreal and began taking his faith seriously in CEGEP. His interests are evangelization and ministry within Montreal’s Catholic young adult community!

Morgan Fournier

Morgan Fournier is the full-time Campus Minister with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Along with a group of student leaders, she oversees the McGill Christian Fellowship group at McGill. InterVarsity is an organization that works with students on campuses across Canada and the US to establish Christian faith communities on campus and to invite students who don’t know Jesus to come and explore who He is. They do this through community dinners, weekly bible studies, prayer gatherings and large group events. Morgan personally met God in University 14 years ago and has worked for InterVarsity at McGill for the past 7 years.

Dr. Abdu’l-Missagh Ghadirian

Dr. Ghadirian is an author, researcher and Emeritus Professor at McGill University, Faculty of Medicine in Montreal. He has spoken in numerous public, professional and university venues around the world. He has done extensive research including numerous articles published mostly in scientific journals and other professional media in the field of social science and psychiatry. He is the author of fourteen books, including “In Search of Nirvana” and “Alcohol and Drug Abuse: a Psychosocial and Spiritual Approach to Prevention”. He founded and has conducted a course on Spirituality and Ethics in Medicine (since 2002) at McGill University’s Undergraduate Medical Education department. As an author, he has researched and published on spirituality in medicine and is currently writing a chapter on the role of spirituality in the global mental health: You can read Dr. Ghadirian’s most recent article: Spiritual Dimension of Calamities addressing the issues brought about COVID-19.

Shehnaz Karim

Shehnaz is the Executive Director of the Sanad Collective, a faith-based community development project that she also co-founded. Shehnaz has a degree in education from the University of BC as well as a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Ottawa. Her expertise includes curriculum design and pedagogy from a holistic spiritual perspective. She studied with the foremost Islamic scholars of Syria and continues to cultivate programs and initiative to forge authentic culture and shift paradigms within the Muslim community and beyond. Besides her scholarly and community role, Shehnaz is mentor to many individuals, including youth and families, providing spiritual chaplaincy through the promotion and support of mental and spiritual well-being. Shehnaz's vision is for community to become the village that allows us to raise healthy, balanced children and live well through the support of God, as expressed through the exchange of kindness amongst human beings.

Jen Kaumeyer

Jen Kaumeyer is a graduating fourth year at McGill, having just completed a BA in English Literature and World Religions. Jen is interested in spirituality and how it intersects with wellness on a personal level, as well as the place that tradition and sanctity occupies in lives, be they religious or not. She is not strictly affiliated with any one religion or faith community, but finds insight in several traditions and practices, many of which are ubiquitously felt yet immaterial and nameless. Through her own personal growth and her academic studies, she has learned the importance of maintaining spiritual wellness and community. She is also a regular and valued contributor of our Radix Magazine - read her piece in our latest edition, Well-Being!

Dr. Juss Kaur Magon

Dr. Juss Kaur Magon is an International Education Consultant and has successfully mentored over 800 teachers in Saudi Arabia, UAE, India and Nigeria with Pearson Education and independently. Juss has been involved in inquiry related research in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology at McGill University in Montreal, Canada for a decade, where she was also an Adjunct Professor. Her in-depth experience of teaching at all levels of school life and community enables her to work very closely with both students and teachers. Juss is very passionate about teaching and learning. She finds the experience of meeting people from diverse backgrounds a joy and enjoys their personal connection to the Divine. Juss also holds motivational workshops that engage students with questions of faith, spirituality, mindfulness, and positive thinking.

View the recording

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