Friar speaks on Lent, eating disorders


Franciscan friar gave reassurance to students observing Lenten fasting with an eating disorder on the morning of Ash Wednesday in the Fireside Lounge. 

Few chairs were left unfilled as former social worker the Rev. Luke Robertson, TOR, gave advice on how to spiritually heal from eating disorders and properly handle Lenten sacrifice. 

Robertson said that if someone is struggling with disordered eating, they are not being called to fast during Lent because it is “injurious to (their) health.” He went on to clarify that “the Lord wants … (everyone) to be fully healthy, fully alive, fully whole (and) fully complete.” 

Robertson encouraged students to observe the season of Lent by actively doing something penitential even if unable to fast from food. Robertson recommended carrying out one act of kindness for someone each day, “especially if it’s not one of (your) closest friends.” 

Robertson also spoke on the spirituality of healing from disordered eating. He emphasized the importance of taking things slowly, stating that true recovery takes time and effort and can be better achieved if one seeks help from others. 

“One of the things I hear a lot from people is (that they) don’t want to burden (their) friends,” Robertson said. “Here’s the interesting thing: Your friends don’t mind being burdened! They see it as … an opportunity to show their love and their care (for you).” 

Robertson ended by stressing the importance of self-worth and being able to forgive yourself for past mistakes. 

“You may be much more inclined to forgive other people than you are to forgive yourself,” he said. “Learning to forgive ourselves is essential to the process of recovery.” 

Attendees of the event were pleased with Robertson’s presentation. 

“I really appreciated (Robertson) talking about self-forgiveness,” one Franciscan graduate said, who wished to remain anonymous. “Our own (lack of) self-forgiveness usually hinders the process (of healing).” 

The presentation was sponsored by the Wellness Center as part of a seven-week series on eating disorders, which will continue Wednesday, March 4th, at 5 p.m. in the Gentile Gallery.