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 and two surviving brothers and, of course, her congregation, the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur.  She was a member of Our Lady of Victory Center, at 909 West Shaw Street, in Fort Worth, Texas 76110.

Let us also pray for the Beginning Experience ministry, which Sister Josephine co-founded with Ms. Jo Lamia in 1974.  This ministry is alive and well today throughout the world thanks to the vision and guidance of Sr. Josephine.



About the Beginning Experience® ministry

Working on Marriage Tribunal cases in Fort Worth in the 1970s, Sister Josephine learned of the stress and grief experience by divorced Catholics.  When Sister Josephine’s pastor subsequently asked her to create a weekend for engaged couples, she agreed – on condition that Ms. Jo Lamia, her divorced friend, be a part of it.   In 1973, Ms. Lamia and Sister Josephine attended a Marriage Encounter weekend to write the program for engaged couples.  During this weekend, Sister Josephine observed the transformation that took place in her friend as Ms. Lamia wrote out all the unfinished grief and anger from her divorce.  The peaceful closure that she was able to place on the end of her marriage inspired Sister Josephine to create the Beginning Experience® ministry.

The initial Beginning Experience® weekend was presented Oct. 18-20, 1974 in the Catholic Renewal Center of North Texas.  By 1977, Sister Josephine was devoted to the Beginning Experience® ministry full time.  When Sister Josephine stepped down as director of the Beginning Experience® ministry in 1981, she had personally spread the ministry to Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand, Ireland and Great Britain, as well as Canada and many other American states.  She wrote extensively about it in her autobiography Letting Go: The Way into Abundance:  the Personal Story of the Founder of the Beginning Experience, published in 2010.

This healing ministry, co-founded with Ms. Lamia, continues to help hundreds of thousands of people recover from the grief of a lost marriage.  Separated, widowed and divorced persons around the world and their families will forever be grateful to Sister Josephine and Ms. Lamia for the gift of the Beginning Experience® ministry.


Donations in memory of Sr. Josephine can be made to her congregation, the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur at Our Lady of Victory Center, 909 West Shaw Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76110 and to Beginning Experience International Ministry, Inc. at 136 Dowd Avenue, Canton, CT 06019 or on the website at


For more information, please contact

Yvonne Stoops

Executive Director

Beginning Experience International Ministry, Inc.

Phone: 866.610.8877 (toll free North America) or 574.283.0279



for the separated, divorced and widowed