Author archives

Beverly; Charleston, South Carolina

As a counselor, I thought I had dealt with my husband’s death. On my weekend, I realized that I had never cried for my loss. Beginning Experience was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Barbara; Singapore

I was lost and frightened after I left my husband. I found a sense of peace at Beginning Experience and I am getting stronger each day.

Jim; Phoenix, Arizona

I went to Beginning Experience after my divorce. It was amazing! It got me out of the obsessive cycle of beating myself up. I recommend it all the time.

Anna; Alexandria, Louisiana

As a widow of 7 years, I was skeptical about going to Beginning Experience. I felt no one would understand my pain. The weekend literally saved my life. I found the peace I so longed for.

Susan; San Diego, California

I was divorced – the worst thing that ever happened to me. Beginning Experience centered me in my faith, and got me through feelings of rejection, loneliness and anger.

Bill; Sun City, California

My wife of 38 years passed away two years ago. Beginning Experience allowed me to completely accept my wife’s death and move on with my life.

Mary; San Jose, California

I had divorced and Beginning Experience sounded like a way to regain my self-image. I found just what I needed – the hope that I could recover and start my life again.

Vera; Grand Rapids, Michigan

It had been two years since my husband’s death. I saw a notice in my church bulletin and decided to try Beginning Experience. I needed healing and this was where I found it.

Deb; Perth, Western Australia

I came to Beginning Experience after I separated. I was able to let go of years of pain, frustration and guilt. I am much happier now, and able to express myself in a way that is whole and complete.

Program Brings Hope in Face of Loss

By Mike Latona/Catholic Courier After his wife of 45 years passed away, John Maley encountered fellow parishioners who did not know what to say and coupled friends who hesitated to include him in their gatherings. When John Shannon became divorced, his best friend stopped calling him. Sue Harriman, who also is divorced, became inactive in …

Fr. Dick Celebrates 55 Years!

Fr. Richard Mevissen, CSsR celeberates 55 years as a priest; 50 years as a Redemptorist.  CONGRATULATIONS, FR. DICK ! Fr. Dick professed vows as a Redemptorist in 1961, and was ordained in 1966. He earned an MA in catechetical Theology, and did further graduate study in Religious Education. He has served as a college seminary …

Bishop David A. Zubik: We don’t toss out divorced Catholics

By Bishop David A. Zubik Let’s clear up one thing right away: a civil divorce does not prevent a Catholic from full participation in the life of the church, including celebrating Mass and receiving Communion. If someone has told you different, happily, they are very wrong! It’s possible that readers of Sunday’s Post-Gazette might not …

Bishop Taylor ordains Fort Smith widower to priesthood

PUBLISHED: DECEMBER 30, 2014    BY MARYANNE MEYERRIECKSFORT SMITH CORRESPONDENT SUBIACO — The Dec. 20 ordination of Father Jack Sidler had major significance for the Diocese of Little Rock. The oldest seminarian at Sacred Heart Seminary in Hales Corner, Wis., and the 70-year-old grandfather was ordained at Subiaco Abbey by Bishop Anthony B. Taylor. He …

Faerie Pabich on Beginning Experience and Sr. Josephine Stewart

Participant of the very first “Beginning Experience” weekend in Texas, Faerie Pabich, shares the history of the ministry and her personal relationship with co-founder Sr. Josephine Stewart.   Faerie Pabich on Beginning Experience and Sr. Josephine Stewart. from Diocese of Knoxville on Vimeo.

Beginning Experience Helps Mend Broken Hearts After Divorce

by Susan Olp After Juanita Hooper went through a divorce in 1992, she found a way to begin again. Hooper attended a weekend retreat in 1993 sponsored by Beginning Experience, a nondenominational ministry that helps widowed, separated and divorced people come to grips with their loss.   “It was one of the most powerful experiences …

International Board Report 2012

The 2012 International Convention featured a panel of International Board members reporting on the status of the ministry. View the presenters and their topics below. The panel presentation was followed by sessions in which groups of teams were invited to share their reactions, ask questions, and share best practices in their ministries at home. International …

Beginning Experience celebrates 30 years in LA

From The Tidings BY BRENDA MIKHAIL Wednesday, 25 May 2011 18:02 Trained peer ministers who have experienced a similar loss form the team which primarily facilitates three-day grief resolution workshops and provides pre- and post-weekend support programs, such as “Coping With Life Alone” and “Continued Beginnings.” The Beginning Experience® ministry was founded by St. Mary …

Beginning Experience Helps Widowed, Divorced Find Peace

By Denis Grasska SAN DIEGO — Mary Clement and Robert J. Clark have both lost spouses. Clement lost her husband of 33 years when he died after being seriously ill for a year and a half. Clark lost his wife when the couple divorced after 12 years of marriage. In both cases, a relationship died. …

Beginning Experience offers to heal the hurting

Written by Christine Bordelon They have bonded through the shared experience of loss either by death, separation or divorce. From July 25-27, 110 team leaders of Beginning Experience International Ministry, Inc., held their biennial convention, “Celebrating the Vision in a Time of Change,” commemorating the group’s 40th anniversary. “They’re my family,” said Rose Brocato, president …

After death, divorce or separation – the Beginning Experience

By Carol Baas Sowa Today’s Catholic SAN ANTONIO • In 1973 a Sister of St. Mary of Namur and her friend, a divorced Catholic mother, attended a Marriage Encounter weekend in Fort Worth with the hope of developing a program for engaged couples. During that weekend, the divorcee (Jo Lamia, a former World War II …

Obituary Josephine

Co-Founder of Beginning Experience International Ministry, Inc. passes away at age 82 in Ft. Worth, Texas Ft. Worth, TX – Sr. Josephine Stewart died yesterday afternoon, May 8, 2014 at 3:30 p.m. after a long illness.  May her soul rest in peace. Let us pray for Sr. Josephine and her family.  She has a sister …

Quote: Lamott

There are two prayers: Help me! Help me! Help me! and Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!             – Anne Lamott

Poem: Put Your Ear to the Ground

Put your ear to the groundand listen, hurried, worried footsteps, Bitterness, rebellion.Hope hasn’t yet begun.Listen again.Put out feelers. The Lord is there.He is far less likelyto abandon usin hardshipthan in times of ease.             – Dom Helder Camara

Hope for Troubled Marriages

If your marriage is in trouble, consider Retrouvaille. A lifeline for troubled marriages, the Retrouvaille program consists of a weekend experience combined with a series of 6-12 post-weekend sessions over a three-month period. It provides the tools to help put your marriage in order again. The main emphasis of the program is on communication between …

2014 International Convention to be Held in New Orleans

New Orleans, Louisiana has been selected as the location of the 2014 Beginning Experience International Convention, with Louisiana Beginning Experience teams serving as hosts for their peer ministry colleagues at the international event.  With the theme of “Celebrating the Vision in a Time of Change,” the three-day program is planned as a weekend of learning, …

Beginning Experience Teams Transitioning to New Program Materials

Beginning Experience teams are transitioning now to offering the Beginning Experience Weekend program using materials that have been recently updated.  The Beginning Experience Weekend Manual for Presenting Team and the Beginninng Experience Weekend Manual for Coordinators guide presentation of the ministry’s core grief resolution program. The materials are available under contract to Beginning Experience teams …

Organization helps broken-hearted love again

By Mary Whalen From the Bluff County Reader, Feb. 14, 2011 February opens our minds and hearts to reflect on the love relationships of our lives. Emotional energy moves toward people who are tucked deeply in our hearts. Special tokens of love’s presence are bestowed upon spouses, parents, children, relatives and special friends. Remembrances of …


Parting is all we know of heaven, And all we need of hell. —Emily Dickinson

Beginning Experience: Help for grieving singles

From the Pittsburgh Catholic By THERESA McHENRY Widowed, separated or divorced? Don’t know where to turn? Struggling with grief or loss? When distress, despair, anger or grief are trivialized, dismissed and remain unresolved, life may seem unfulfilled and aimless. The loss of self-esteem, together with feelings of sadness or bitterness, becomes a way of life. …

Weekends for divorced, widowed returning to Arkansas

From the Arkansas Catholic BY MARYANNE MEYERRIECKSFORT SMITH CORRESPONDENT FORT SMITH — When widower Jim Bolt, a parishioner of St. Vincent de Paul Church in Rogers, went on a Beginning Experience weekend in April, he thought he’d been through all the grief of losing his wife to a three-year struggle with lung cancer. Instead, he …

Why do I just want to be alone?

by Fr. Dick Mevissen, CSsRSpiritual DirectorBeginning Experience International Ministry, Inc. Many people in the devastating aftermath of the end of their marriage, either through death or divorce, wonder why they just want to be alone now.  There are a couple of reasons for this (perhaps intense) desire. The basic reason is that people who are grieving …


Learning to Live Again, 2010 edition by Sue Carpenter, Earl Frawner, Gene O’Brien and Pal Waugh with introduction, commentary and epilogue by Judith Tate O’Brien Every marriage ends. Interrupted by death or torn by divorce, a shattered union thrusts people into the trauma and turmoil of grief. This book is written for those experiencing this …

Scripture – Joshua 1:9

“I command you: be firm and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD, your God, is with you wherever you go.” —New American Bible

How you can help someone who is grieving

When someone you know has experienced the loss of a spouse, you may experience a great deal of certainty.  While we may wish to be helpful, we may not know what to do or what to say to be of comfort to the grieving person.  Here are some suggestions: Say: I’m sorry. I care about …

Reacting to loss

The end of a marital relationship is one of the most traumatic losses a person will ever experience. The normal, natural reaction to such a loss is grief. You need to go through the grief to heal. Grief is much more than a feeling, although feelings are a part of it. Feelings of grief may …