Welcome to BeCompassionateNL

Dr. Frances Scully - BeCompassionateNL | About
Dr. Frances Scully - Activist, Contemplative, Physician, Teacher accompanied by her friend Csongor Mátyás and his son Isti.

Compassion flows from our innate human capacity to care and recognize suffering, be moved by suffering, and choose to relieve it. Hence, authentic compassion is embodied. 

As a compassion, kindness, and meditation teacher, I teach the Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) meditation courses developed at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford Medical School by dedicated faculty in 2009. 

Please join me to take the 8-week Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) meditation courses starting in January  2024.

 

Land Acknowledgement of the Kindness of the Ancestors

With gratitude, we acknowledge this Land Acknowledgement we received permission to use from First Light.

We respectfully acknowledge the land on which we gather as the ancestral homelands of the Beothuk, whose culture has now been erased forever. We also acknowledge the island of Ktaqamkuk (Newfoundland) as the unceded, traditional territory of the Beothuk and the Mi’kmaq. And we acknowledge Labrador as the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Innu of Nitassinan, the Inuit of Nunatsiavut, and the Inuit of NunatuKavut. We recognize all First Peoples who were here before us, those who live with us now, and the seven generations to come. As First Peoples have done since time immemorial, we strive to be responsible stewards of the land and to respect the cultures, ceremonies, and traditions of all who call it home. As we open our hearts and minds to the past, we commit ourselves to working in a spirit of truth and reconciliation to make a better future for all.

My Story

Dr. Frances Scully: Activist. Physician. Contemplative. Teacher.

I am a 67-year-old, mostly retired academic Hematologist. I am also a widowed survivor of breast cancer.

I now live with several congenital and acquired disabilities, including a very late diagnosis of ADHD. 

I am blessed with two wonderful adult sons and two lively Australian Shepherds, Lily and  Enzo. 

We now call  Lily “Peace” and Enzo “Joy.

As a former academic clinical Hematologist/Oncologist, I  began my combination breast cancer therapy with surgery,  chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy and aromatase inhibitor therapy optimistically. 

To speed up my treatment and be well enough to travel to find a new position and start a new practice as an adult Hematologist/Oncologist, I  chose to pay for my breast surgery at the Mayo Clinic. 

This proved to be a costly experience. My trip to Jacksonville, Florida and the needed treatment cost me about 100,000 Canadian dollars.

I returned to St. John’s to begin my recommended treatment with Taxotere, Cyclophosphamide and Decadron at our excellent local cancer center.

In July 2017, I knew nothing about Taxotere-induced alcohol intoxication.   As soon as I received my first treatment, I had great difficulty concentrating, standing and walking.

These challenges persisted for years. I was puzzled by how ill my chemotherapy made me. I also experienced almost continuous excruciating pain between January 2019 and  September 2019.

One of the many reasons I chose to train to teach meditation was that I never recovered and remained incapable of standing and walking.

One can teach meditation sitting down. Hence, I invested a  significant proportion of my retirement savings to pay for my care at the Mayo Clinic,  home care,  novel therapies, and legal advice.

I also trained for a new career as an expert on planetary health,  reflective practices and the many benefits of healing collective and intergenerational trauma. 

I paid multiple IT professionals to create this website and link it to my BeCompassionateNL mighty network.

I am grateful to God, my sons, friends, western and complementary healthcare providers, neighbours, spiritual advisors, and our dogs for helping me become more mobile and pain-free. 

In February 2023, my younger son Aiden and I  moved with our two dogs, “Peace ” and “Joy,” to begin a new life in beautiful Logy Bay, NL, Canada.

 Now, I  continue to declutter, heal, build a new contemplative life and hopefully earn a  living. 

As an Irish Canadian, I love what we call   ” enjoying the  craic.” I  hope to enjoy lots of ” craic” this winter.

I set my sights on making new friends and returning to cooking, baking, dancing, hiking, singing, and swimming. 

 I seek to advocate for nonviolence, compassion, kindness, equality, and inclusion.

I seek to advocate for children, women, cultural, ethnic, gender, linguistic and religious minorities, and people experiencing financial hardships, all of whom are voiceless.

I also seek to advocate for seniors living with disabilities who wish to connect with others to teach and write online. 

I have experienced significant financial abuse as an ill senior. 

I hope to prevent this from happening to other widowed seniors who are ill. 

I send love and wishes for healing to all. 

 

Dr. Frances Scully
BeCompassionateNL icon of the white outline of a lotus over a green and teal circle

 

Starting in 2002, I sought professional help for anxiety. As my beloved late husband, Dr. Châu Nguyên’s health deteriorated, I became increasingly anxious, depressed, lonely and socially isolated. During this time, I tried to love and support my beloved husband, who suffered intensely, to be an alert, responsive and supportive parent and dog owner. I also sought to provide optimal care to my dear patients,  their families and loved ones, mentor and teach learners, engage in clinical research and build a local patient support group—the NL Blood Disorders Network. 

In 2011, I experienced a harrowing episode of significant depression. I am immensely grateful for the healing, love and support of family and friends, especially my sons and wonderful friends Gail Carroll and Hilda Wakeham Dunn. I am also thankful to my superbly dedicated healthcare team. My compassionate psychologist, Marina Hewlett, treated me with incredible kindness and skill. She introduced me to the critically important new (to me) field of trauma-informed care.

When healthcare professionals become trauma-aware, we change our inquiry into the onset of an illness, moving away from the “why” and toward the “how.” 

In 2016, I was saddened and hurt by an extraordinarily harsh and punitive process initiated by my concerned colleagues. The regulatory system for physicians does not currently use a lens of compassion and kindness. I experienced the regulatory response as abusive, cruel, insensitive and ruthless, especially as I was also experiencing a harrowing period of grief, illness and loss. After reading about the beautiful efforts of an anonymous customer displaying an act of kindness at a coffee shop in St. John’s, I became inspired to follow the advice of Gandhi “to be the change” I wished to see in the world.

In 2017, I asked Google if compassion even exists.

My Google search led me to the inspirational Charter for Compassion, founded by Karen Armstrong with funds she received for an excellent TED talk.  Next, I discovered the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford Medicine.  Intrigued, I applied to the Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT)© Meditation Course. Weeks later, I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and began my cancer journey. I was fortunate to take this life-affirming meditation course online while enduring cancer therapy’s lifesaving and life-disabling side effects; I found the system incredibly helpful—a deep bow to my excellent teacher, Leah Weiss, and my classmates. 

My very positive experience with this course led me to reapply to train to teach this excellent course. I am amazed at how much I have learned since focusing on cultivating compassion and kindness. 

I intend to collaborate, connect, discuss, and envision with all, working to create local, national, and global non-human and domination-centric cultures, processes and systems . Instead, I intend to explicitly value compassion, democracy, diversity, fairness, gentleness, inclusion, joy, kindness, nature, the natural world, Indigenous and non-Indigenous Scholarship and Wisdom traditions. 

I also intend to connect, learn with and support all who focus on regenerative ways of living, restorative justice, reconciliation, and peace-making. I primarily seek to collaborate with all educators, decision-makers and policy-makers who seek to add compassion, ecological literacy, fairness, inclusion, kindness, reflective practices, and an understanding of human bias and cultural myopia. I love to see  Indigenous and non-Indigenous Wisdom cultivation practices included in higher levels of education. 

I seek to connect with, cherish, defend, learn from, listen to, love and support all Indigenous Elders, bundle and knowledge protectors, land protectors with their strong allies, locally, regionally, nationally and globally, with Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, by birth or by choice and all who seek to co-create a more compassionate, reflective, ecologically and technologically advanced society for the benefit of the Seventh Generation.

Vision Statement

We seek to grow a diverse, inclusive, reflective, safe and welcoming online community. We invite people who self-identify as  First Nation, Métis, Inuit as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, born and bred, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians by choice and all who choose to join us. We set our intention to cultivate compassion, joy, kindness, inclusion, make new friends and have fun.

We invite others to join us as we cultivate reflective and restorative activities and practices and integrate Indigenous Wisdom and an Earth For All approach to system change. During these stormy times, we invite all our neighbours to walk with us through the doorway of Truth and Reconciliation, to heal people and our planet, find quiet coves safe-havens, and co-create the conditions for both human and non-human flourishing to the Seventh Generations. 

Collaborations & Community Partners

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Register now for the Compassion Cultivation Training 8-week course!