Here's a sharing from Columban student Peter LiChun Dong on his CPE experience at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute.

By Peter LiChun Dong, Columban Student

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Peter Dong with Fr. Felisiano Fatu, Rector

I took the Clinical Pastoral Education program at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute. There were nine of us. I thought CPE was about helping the sick deal with sufferings and death. However, along the way, I gradually discovered that it was not only about helping the sick, but also helping my own self. While doing my patient visitation rounds, I recognized my own issues and weaknesses.  I, too, need to grow and be healed.  Many times, it was not I who comforted the patients, but instead, they were the ones who comforted me, with the way they went through the process of healing. This gave me hope. The group processing helped me face my own shortcomings and affirm the goodness in myself. 

I learned that I needed to strengthen my own faith and the desire for God. While on one hand, sickness and death destroy our physical bodies; on the other hand, they bring the family together and foster ties among them.

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Peter (fourth from ) with his CPE classmates at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute

Three things I learned from CPE: trust, feeling and understanding.


Trust is a bridge between the patients and me, and between God and me.  At the start, it was hard for me to trust others and to build a bridge to reach out to them.  I learned from our CPE supervisor that the more I open myself, the more I could get to know others.  Gradually, I found myself opening up to the patients whom I visited, including those who were reluctant to receive me. I began to be open to God too.  Sometimes I could not understand Him; I could not feel Him, but I trust Him.



I used to not understand how important feelings are in our daily life.  From where I am coming from, it is really hard for me to describe or show my feelings, especially the negative ones.  In CPE, I have learned that feelings tell the truth about myself and others.  Now, I’m learning how to face my own feelings, especially the negative ones, and I think I’m making progress.  There is no right or wrong about what I feel.  Even the negative feelings are part of me. When I express my real feelings, others understand me more.



It is important to know some data about the patients and understand their sickness.   In this way, I can understand their situation better – why they hide their true feelings, how much they are suffering, etc. – and be able to articulate my questions carefully to help them express themselves and encourage them in their difficulties.