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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ??????

This may seem an unusual title for a blog but for this particular one, it works!

Why? Because it’s a blog about the best personality inventory I’ve ever experienced – the Enneagram.

The Enneagram Institute (yes, there is such a place!) defines the Enneagram this way: “At its core, the Enneagram helps us to see ourselves at a deeper, more objective level and can be of invaluable assistance on our path to self-knowledge.”

This does sum it up … “it helps us to see ourselves at a deeper, more objective level.” But what of those numbers in the title???? This particular personality inventory, based on ancient philosophies, helps persons identify themselves as a number 1 through 9. I can find a bit of myself in all nine of the types but, after learning about the characteristics of each type, it became very clear that I’m most closely associated with the type 3 personality.

From the Enneagram Institute: “Everyone emerges from childhood with one of the nine types dominating their personality, with inborn temperament and other pre-natal factors being the main determinants of our type. This is one area where most all of the major Enneagram authors agree – we are born with a dominant type. Subsequently, this inborn orientation largely determines the ways in which we learn to adapt to our early childhood environment.”

When I first attended an Enneagram workshop, I wondered if perhaps as I grew older my number would change – it doesn’t! And, that’s a benefit of the Enneagram – that our basic personality is there to be discovered more and more as we advance through our years. Another important aspect I learned is that one type isn’t better than another. While I might prefer the type that is more introspective or the type that is more willful, what I know is that the ideal is become my best self. Saint Catherine of Siena (and that’s another workshop you can attend in October!) put it this way: “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”* Well, I’m not sure I’m setting the world on fire, but striving to be who God meant me to be is my hope.

Attending an Enneagram workshop with a spouse or work team or any other group with whom you are closely associated is very beneficial. The first time I participated was with a group of Sisters of Providence (my LGU – local government unit). We learned so much about ourselves as individuals, but had the added benefit of learning about one another. We laughed often as we were finally able to figure out why one or more of us acted or reacted as she did in certain circumstances.

Perhaps you’ve taken the Myers Briggs Personality Inventory or online personality “tests.” I can say that for me, and for many others, the Enneagram has been the most helpful and insightful tool I’ve experienced. Along with time given to prayer and reflection, we can truly learn how to be who God meant us to be, and perhaps you and I CAN set the world on fire!


Discover what your number is! Join the Sisters of Providence for the Enneagram Workshop on Oct. 30-Nov. 1. Find all the details and registration information here.

Learn more about Catherine of Siena. Register for the Coffee with the Mystics workshop from 1-3 p.m., on Sunday, Oct. 11.

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Sister Paula Damiano

Sister Paula, formerly Sister Mario, has been a Sister of Providence since 1967. She has ministered as a teacher, director of vocations, pastoral associate and as a General Councilor for the Sisters of Providence. She currently ministers as director of programs and retreats at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

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3 Comments

  1. Jenny Howard on September 23, 2020 at 10:04 am

    I appreciated your blog, Paula! For some of us COVID times has really brought to light our enneagram characteristics. Good to know!

  2. Sister Mary Tomlinson on September 23, 2020 at 11:42 am

    Paula. It’s been years since I took an Enneagram workshop. Probably when I was a novice. I knew immediately I was a 1. Your piece is a good reminder to get back in touch with my 1-ness. And you are right. I was a 1 when I took the workshop and 1 still today. Thanks for your piece. Mary

  3. Connie Schnapf on September 23, 2020 at 1:31 pm

    So glad you will be offering the workshop. The enneagram was a life changer for me, and still continues to help me understand so much of why I do what I do.
    Connie Schnapf, PA

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