The Sunday’s Well Life Centre is the second of 3 Life Centres in the Republic of Ireland. The Centres’ ethos is based on a method known as SERVOL – Service Volunteered for All. Servol was established in Trinidad by Fr. Gerry Pantin in the 1970’s and has three key ideas that the Centres follow:
1) Philosophy of ignorance This basically means that we should never presume to know what is best for any individual. Everyone leads a different life. Ask the person what it is they need.
2) Attentive listening The person’s voice is the most important in their own development, and this must always be maintained when in dialogue with them.
3) Respectful Intervention In order to help a person, we must do so respectfully, with their consent and understanding. Both sides can learn from each other, and need to be open in order to facilitate the best outcome.
In 1993 Br. Paul Hendrick spent a year in Trinidad where he came in contact with Fr. Pantin and SERVOL. He liked the ideas behind the method, and seeing the positive outcome it was achieving there, he brought the idea back to Ireland and approached the Christian Brothers. In 1996, Pearse Square was opened, and then followed in 2000 by Sunday’s Well, before Cherry Orchard opened in 2006.
In Cork, Br. Gary O’ Shea served as Director, before stepping down in 2006. Don O’ Leary then took over as Director, becoming the first lay-Director, while Br. Gary stayed on as Deputy Director. Both still remain in those roles today.