Drawing from their own lives and personalities, Art and Laraine Bennett spoke at a GIVEN forum June 13 about the four ancient personality types, revealing each of their strengths and weaknesses, and how to unlock each individual's potential to best serve God.
The couple's presentation was one of many concerning leadership, discernment, and prayer life at the GIVEN institutes Catholic young women's leadership forum, which ran at The Catholic University of America June 12-16. Organizers structured the program to help the 120 young Catholic women discover and accept their God-given gifts, and to apply them to strengthen the Catholic community.
The Bennetts spoke on accepting and utilizing "The Temperament God Gave You," also the title of the book they co-wrote. The four temperaments include choleric, phlegmatic, sanguine and melancholic.
According to the Bennetts, the choleric reacts quickly and decisively, but often impulsively. On the opposite pole is the phlegmatic, who is calm, slow to act and form opinions, and generally attracted to peace. The sanguine is the classic "people person," who loves to socialize, bring harmony to social environments and please other people. Opposed this is the melancholic, who is idealistic, analytic, deeply thoughtful and slow to react.
The couple is a self-professed, comprehensive map of all four personalities. As a choleric-sanguine, Lorraine Bennett is friendly, loud, eager to please and just as eager to condemn what she believes to be untrue. Art Bennett, as a melancholic-phlegmatic, is quieter and more thoughtful, preferring to mull over ideas before forming opinions, and striving to keep the peace at all costs.
Each acknowledged their own and their spouse's strengths and weaknesses as a result of their temperament.
"The temperament is a God-given gift, and that's great. But we want to grow in virtue. We don't think you actually change your temperament, you just acquire more virtues. We have gone over the gifts of the temperament that you want to be grateful for, and as much as you can, you want to be grateful for the gifts of everyone you meet," Art Bennett said. "But everyone in life will have opportunities in which they can grow, and your temperament will give you a clue on where you need to grow."
The Bennetts' presentation was only one of GIVEN's offerings to strengthen young Catholic women's leadership capabilities.
Elise Gallagher, a mentor for the small groups within the program, spoke to the immediacy of the Bennetts' advice.
"Lorraine and Art Bennett are speaking about very tangible skills about themselves and how they can develop their skills to apply in the vocation that they are in now," Gallagher said.
However, Gallagher explained that the women also had the opportunity to attend daily Mass, keeping the Eucharist at the center of the program, as well as go to prayer workshops and small groups, where they could discuss the day and their action plans with their mentors
Attendee Isabel Yu, a 25-year-old from Maryland, said that she was excited to find a conference specifically for young Catholic women leaders.
"I have been to Catholic conferences, I have been to Catholic leadership conferences, I have been to women's conferences, but no conferences like GIVEN, where it's Catholic, women, leadership," Yu told Catholic News Service. "Being here and seeing so many women so fired up about the desires that the Lord has put in their hearts and, honestly, just being at Mass and only hearing women voices -- It was like the angels were singing -- I have never experienced anything like that. Just feeling that femininity in the room is amazing."