Remembering Sister Josephine

We were so blessed to have Sister Josephine near by in Texas. She was a joy to be around and a blessing to the ministry. She supported us and blessed us with her presence even on our Team retreats. I remember her leading us in prayer on the beach — welcoming the morning with the Native American Prayer to the Four Directions. Others walking the beach certainly had a sight to behold — Sister Josephine in her moo-moo and the rest of us with our arms raised in prayer to the N/S/E/W. I’m glad I knew you, Josephine. Karen K, Houston Episcopal BE Team

What an amazingly special and saintly person you were Josephine. I first met Josephine on the first BE weekend in New Zealand held in Christchurch on the clifftops overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I was one of two cooks whose task it was to ensure all participants were fed and watered. I went on to be a participant and later a facilitator. I have many memories of Josephine that capture her courage, sense of fun and such a big heart. One of those memories was myself, Shirley and Josephine went camping out to a favourite place in North Canterbury(usually quiet and secluded). It was a hot day and as no one was around we decided to go ‘skinny-dipping’. We enjoyed the seeming solitude of the cooling waters until we heard some people coming, so Shirley and I rushed out of the water to put some clothes on. Alas, Josephine was not quite as quick and was ‘stuck’ in the water. We kept hoping the males would disappear but they lingered on. Time went by and we could see Josephine was very cold so after many fumbling attempts we managed to get her moving downstream and wrapped her in a blanket to get her out of the water. After warmup time and the visitors departure we collapsed laughing. Each time we got together we would recall that hilarious time. Rest in peace Josephine knowing you touched so many, many peoples lives. Joan Brown. Christchurch.

Thank you Sister Josephine for saving my life then giving me a new life. The love you spread around the world will never be forgotten. Gene Diel

The first time I met Sister Josephine was 2006 in the hot tub in Winnepeg, Canada at the International convention. Two days later I met my future husband who was a member of the International board, Gene Diel. Thank you Sister Josephine for giving my life back to me and then for bringing the two jeans together. In appreciation and love, Jean Diel

My life has been forever changed from my very first BE Weekend in Phoenix. I can’t imagine the direction I might have taken without it. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to work with her on the International Board and with BE and the Youth programs. I have been blessed to receive her generous gifts of joy, wisdom and love. Ann Carter, Phoenix, AZ P.S. Say hello to Jesus for me!

Sister Josephine, appreciation & gratitude from the bottom of my heart, the day you came into my life & home, I knew you were very special, your smile & loving hug. I did not know at the time, the BE gift you were sharing in Sacramento would be what I would need years later to survive divorce. The Beginning Experience ministry contributed to healing my fractured heart & spirit. I was guided thru to my healing process and to become free to love again. God, myself & others! It is true that by the Grace of God, you crossed my path for a greater purpose! My gratitiude to you & Jo for your courage & Love that you shared endlessly for the greater good of so many others. A few years ago at your book signing luncheon, your loving smile & hug had not changed at all. Loving you for all that you are, Thank you, Until we meet again, Roberta M., Sacramento, CA.

God’s Blessings to Sr Josephine and family. Beginning Experience in Perth Western Australia changed my life and brought me the blessings of seeing others transformed as I became a team member. I will always remember Sr Josephine and those who worked with her and her programs in my prayers. Gordon Lyall, Queensland Australia.

Oh my!! What an inspiration Sr. Josephine was. She touched and changed so many of our lives, each with our own B.E. Experience. Some of us knew her on a personal level and will miss her wisdom and humor. A very special lady and messenger of love and goodness, so sweet and always willing to share. The San Angelo, Texas B.E. Team will miss her!!

Warm heart felt wishes to Sister Josephine’s family and community. I am ever so grateful to Sister Josehine and Jo Lamia for the creation of Beginning Experience. May your spirit live on through this healing program. BE Hugs, Lise Desrochers – Winnipeg Beginning Experience, Canada

My sons and I join with our Beginning Experience Family around the world grieving the loss of the touch of Sister Josephine. As we pray for the repose of her soul, we believe the work she was called to begin will continue as she leaves the Church Militant entering God’s next role for her in the Communion of Saints. Her book, “Letting Go: The Way into Abundance: The Personal Story of the Founder of the Beginning Experience” gives insight into the power inspiring this courageous servant of God. May her soul rest in peace. Simply, Mary Rochester/Southeastern MN

I am Sister Josephine’s niece and Goddaughter – it has been such a blessing reading all of your comments. She was always special to me and now I understand how truly remarkable she was – Thank you!

I feel the loss of a good friend since the onset of the BE I was on the first team and a personal friend of Sr. Josephine. I feel very sad because she was instrumental in nurturing me through a divorce and annullment with 3 children 4yrs, 2yrs and six weeks to raise on my own. We were planning to get together after her eye surgery for a visit but her health went downhill from there and we did not get together. Found out about funeral arrangements to late so I missed that too. We loved each other and she knew it. She was a very special person, Peggy Penning, Dallas, Texas

I attended the Beginning Experience twice, many years apart, and when I ponder the work Sister Josephine did with the Beginning Experience, I can’t help but also think about some of the changes being discussed in Rome since the election of Pope Francis. I believe there is some consideration being given to the possibility of Rome embracing a practice found in the Orthodox Church … the permissibility of a second sacramental marriage after a divorce (with no necessity for an annulment). I don’t know what the criteria are, but I believe that when the first marriage takes place before the maturity of the spouses, the Orthodox Church allows divorce and a second blessed marriage. I believe the second marriage is a sacramental marriage and takes place during a somewhat penitential service in which the divorced party /parties ask for forgiveness and set out a bit more soberly on their second marriage. (At least this is my understanding; I may need correcting.) If my understanding is correct, it seems to me that the adoption of this practice by Rome would be a tribute to the healing work of the Beginning Experience and Sister Josephine, though she and I never spoke about it. Susan Carney

I had the joy of meeting Sister in Nashville in 2002. I fell in love with the tiny, dynamic lady who loved everyone she saw. Her hugs were the best! I am forever grateful to her and to Jo for giving us a chance at life once again. When my marriage ended I didn’t have hope or the strength to move on. The weekend, the BE family, and writing all those talks as a Team member helped me to find the Ada I had lost and to heal. My faith deepened as a result. I have now remarried and have the life I dreamed about but felt was not possible for me. Thank you Sister! Enjoy your reward in heaven. We will meet again! Much love form your BE sister, Ada Thornton

I met Sister Josephine in 2002 at the Nashville, Tennessee convention. I was excited and curious to meet the co-founder of the ministry that saved my life. She was a delightful person and I instantly felt comfortable with her. I learned so much about love, life and forgiveness from Sister Josephine. And, through the years I learned that beneath the short stature, snow white hair and signature bright colored mumu was a tough as nails, strong confident woman. She was kind, loving, and humble. When the conversation turned to how BE started, she always gave full credit to Jo Lamia, saying it was Jo’s hard work during the Marriage Encounter weekend that allowed this ministry to come to life. I shall forever be grateful to both of them for their willingness to allow God to work through them. I shall miss Sister Josephine’s laugh, the twinkle in her eye and her hugs! I am grateful that God gave me her for a friend and mentor. I am sure there was great rejoicing in Heaven when Sister Josephine arrived!!! Carolyn Rohde, – Columbus, Nebraska

Ar dheis Dé go Raibh a hanam dílis. Le grá agus buíochas ó Bhéal Feirste. May her loyal soul be seated at God’s right hand. With love and thanks from the Belfast team

I am a past facilitator with beginning experience Brisbane,Queensland,Australia.I would like to express that because of Sr Josephine and her fellow minister members ,I was able to both heal and restore my faith by participating in the BE Programme.Rest in peace Sr Josephine and you will be missed by all in our organisation.God Bless all, Steve Barber ,Burpengary ,Brisbane.

I am one of the many who benefitted from Beginning Experience and I’d like to thank Sr. Josephine and everyone who contributed to the development of the program. You helped me break free from the pain of my previous relationship breakdown and my children, current partner and community have a life loving member again. Angels of God hasten to greet her. Receive her soul and present her to God the most high. R.I.P. Sr. Josephine. Michael ODJ, Brisbane, Australia

I remember Sr. Josephine coming to our 2010 St. John’s international convention. She visited the youth at their YABE session and invigorated the students with her enthusiasm for BE. Her wealth of knowledge, direction and dedication to the healing ministry was a force to be reckoned with! She attended sessions and provided input on where BE had come from and how it could continue to move forward. Per her request, we provided a driver so she could get some exercise in a local motel’s swimming pool in order to maintain her exercise routine regarding her health concerns. She was aware of her own as well as BE’s challenges and was still involved in thoughtful dialogue for BE’s future. We have lost a beacon and a major star. Peace always, Mari Walker, CN MN BE

What an amazing legacy Sister Josephine has left in B.E. I don’t know what my life would have been like if I hadn’t been on a weekend after my divorce. I went on my first weekend in 1997 and have been involved on teams since then. I met Sister Josephine at the Leeds Regional Conference and had the privilege of her staying the night with me before she went back to America. I know you will be watching over your B.E family from Heaven. Love, hugs and prayers. Sandra Maishman. Kent Team.

Dearest Sister Josephine, I sadly never had the privilege and the honour to meet you in person. What a lady you were. If it wasn’t for the wonderful world family of the Beginning Experience you created I wouldn’t have been able to reach the point I am at today..I was separated for a long time and I am now widowed. Through the Beginning Experience I was able to come to terms with and accept life on my own. May you rest in peace in God’s loving arms. Goodnight. sweet dreams, till we meet one day. Fiorella Zoltowska, ex-London Team, United Kingdom

Sr Josephine touched my life like no-one else ever did. What an truly inspiring woman. I shall always be so grateful for our meetings and for .BE which she inspired. BE has a powerful advocate in heaven, where one day we will ” all meet merrily”! Plitwan bwino dear friend. Pauline Webber in Malawi

Dear Sister Josephine. I am deeply indebted to your support in my early career as a couples therapist. You invited me to conferences to speak about my early research which led to the creation by Helen and me of Imago Relationship Therapy. Your prayers were immensely helpful, and your smile and acceptance always embracing. I cannot imagine the number of lives you touched; they are in the millions. I love that you went around church restrictions to help the suffering whom the church rejected. You will be and should be canonized, soon. blessings on your journey to your reward with God. Harville Hendrix

Sister Josephine was a visionary and I, along with hundreds of others have been blessed to have had the gift of healing through the Beginning Experience program. Because of her love and insight she shared her vision with the world, enabling individuals to find a way through and resolving their grief and pain. I have been humbled and blessed to have spent time with Josephine and ever grateful for her wisdom. Thank you God for bringing this most wonderful woman to us and sharing with us. May her love through the work of others continue to bring peace and understanding to the hurting. Your memory and spirit will live on in my heart. Rest in peace Josephine. Michelle – New Zealand

I knew and respected Josephine and the wonderful ministry she and jo Lamia began.I was a team member and probably made more than ten BE weekends before my ordination in 1983. She will be remembered with gratitude at Mass. May she rest in the love of Jesus. Father Al Grosskopf, S.J.

I spent time with Josephine way back when she was still dreaming B.E. I made the first weekend in Fort Worth “to see how the dream turned into reality” and was surprised to find myself grieving for the nuns I’d lived with 20 years before I left the convent. It was a powerful, cleansing experience. That was Gift # 1. Later working in the OKC Office of Family Life, I brought Beginning Experience to OKC where, later, I met a widower whom I later married. That was Gift # 2! Thanks, Josephine. Judith Tate O’Brien, Tulsa, Oklahoma

When I think of Sr. Josephine my heart fills with gratitude. What a wonderful woman..warm, funny, loving and gifted. BE changed my life in a way that has been deep, lasting and way beyond any expectations that I might have had. She cared for and made a difference with the divorced,widowed and separated people that most of the church ignored. And I for one love her for it. Christie H.

Godspeed Sr. Josephine rest joyfully in the palm of God’s hand that has cradled Jo Lamia for many years. The healing spirit of grace and love that BE has infused into my soul is ever lasting and it freed me from a life of anger and resentment after my divorce. I made my BE weekend in 1981 and was privileged to join a team that helped bring the program other places.BE not only aided my healing around the issue of divorce,it changed me in every area of my life. The prayers I have said for Sr Josephine and Jo have been and will always be prayers of gratitude for the lives they lived and the gift of BE they shared with the world. Praise be to you O Lord for your good and faithful servants,…Kathleen Garast, Scottsdale, Arizona

14 yrs ago my husband passed away after a year of suffering.. I found myself being a widow at the age of 40. I saw the ads for BE in my church paper 6 months later and held on to the information. The new year came around and I was lost… I finally called and made plans for a weekend with the Detroit BE group. It was the best thing I ever did for myself,,, It all made sense . The wisdom that I gained from meeting all the great facilitators was amazing. I joined BE and did every weekend retreat for 3 yrs. I was Blessed to meet Sr. Josephine in the summer of 2003 in St. Louis, it was such a pleasure to be around her and thank her for creating BE. Many blessings to her family and May God Bless her soul! Love Cheryl

The end of an era for the BE and a wonderful and memorable life. As the eldest son of Jo Lamia, I was personal witness to the remarkable relationship these two outstanding women brought to life from the beginning. I have so many wonderful memories of being with them together and the fact that two such humble women could have such an everlasting positive effect on this world. I take great solace in knowing that they are together again watching over the many, many thousands of people whose lives have been enriched though what these unselfish women started. Lastly, as important as the Beginning Experience is, on this day, let me remember Jo Lamia as also the greatest Mom anyone could ever have! Most sincerely, Mark Lamia

Having met and worked with Sr. Josephine in Australia’s introduction to Beginning Experience, has left me with a vision for love of the other in its entirety. May her life’s work gain her eternal rest in the loving presence of the God whom she served to the best of her ability. Go in peace, Josephine. Sr. Mary Constable, (Sister of the Good Samaritan) Balmain, Australia.

It is with regret that I didn’t meet Sister Josephine, as my first B.E. weekend was in 2008 in New Zealand and her health was failing when I attended Conference in 2012. I will be forever grateful for the healing I received on my B.E. Weekend. I can honestly say it changed the course of my life, specifically growing through serving others. I am humbled by the huge international B.E. family and the wonderful people I have met along the way. THANK YOU SISTER JOSEPHINE FOR YOUR LEGACY. I believe you will be able to see us now continuing your great work and helping guide us. Lastly my wish to to meet you hopefully will happen. RIP Lynda Jenkins, Auckland Branch, New Zealand.

Sisters program was a benefit to so many troubled people who suffered a loss through death, separation, or divorce. Her idea of “hot penning” made it so much easier to reveal our true feelings to our fellow participants in our small groups…………..and even to ourselves. The Saturday Night “special events” drew us even closer to forgiveness and acceptance. The program shed new light on a brighter tomorrow. May Sister rest in peace and may God bless all those she touched in her special way. Bill Vance, Arlington, Texas

Sister Josephine, thank you for creating the Beginning Experience program. You have blessed me with the healing process. Attended my first BE meeting in 1999. Love & prayers, Yvonne, DFW, TX

I had the pleasure of meeting Sr. Josephine in Minnesota. Her exuberant joy was so evident. Thank you seems so inadequate to express my gratitude for the work and effort she put in to creating, building and establishing the Beginning Experience ministry. It has changed my life for the better and continues to change my life. I can’t imagine the number of people her life’s work has greatly affected. I continue to assist the Phoenix, AZ Beginning Experience Team and now work serve on the International Board, it is the best way I can think of to honor her memory. May you rest in peace in the company of God and Jesus, Sister Josephine. Your presence on earth will be missed greatly. Brenda S. ~ Phoenix, AZ

I have soooo many memories of Sr. Josephine. As a member of the International Board of Directors, I was privileged to be in her presence for many years and at many local, national, and international events. Josephine inspired us and made us laugh. I remember Josephine body-surfing in the Gulf of Mexico. I remember Josephine, the bag lady – her favorite Saturday night skit persona. I remember the first time I met her, Chicago 1988. Josephine was standing outside the banquet room of the hotel smoking a cigarette – the first time I ever saw a nun smoking!!! Josephine will be remembered by thousands and sorely missed by all of us. RIP Josephine! Fran Devlin, former member of the San Jose CA BE team and the BE International Board of Directors..

Sister Josephine was one of God’s special angels. She had such a profound impact on my life, and on the lives of so many others. She is in my heart and prayers. I also pray for all who grieve the loss of her presence here on earth–her family, her religious community, and her Beginning Experience family around the world. I thank God for the gift of her life, her spirit, and her love. Kathleen Murphy

Thank you Sr. Josephine for letting the HS spirit lead you. I am in NYS (Hudson Valley region) and our BE group is alive and well. Going through the experience of spousal rejection was more painful than the pain of losing my mother. Without BE weekend I may not have ever climbed out of bed to live again. Thank you. I know that you will see us all, better now since you have no physical limitations to hinder you. Can you see me? I am here, saying “thank you”, all the time! (Attended 1st BE in March 2013)

Rest in Peace Sr Josephine. Your program has brought peace to so many.

May Sister Josephine R.I.P…I never had the pleasure of meeting her..But, may God Bless her soul..Marie Francis, Bellevue,Nebraska

Everyone who has ever been involved with BE will feel the loss of Sister Josephine. I wish her family the best during this time of sadness. I would like them to know that the BE program she helped found was and still is a life changing experience for many people in their time of grief and sadness. For me personally her program made it possible to move beyond my very bad marriage and reconnect with my children. The program has also made it possible to be in a positive caring relationship. God bless her, her family, and the program.

I would like to pay respect to Sr Josephine and her family. I am greatful she worked to help everyone with her ability to see a need and work on it. May blessings come to your whole family as you remember this lady.

Sr Josephine and her co-founders provided a life raft to me and countless others with such a wonderful program. Josephine provided inspiration to me in my journey; with her profound personal support in time of need, her presence, steadfastness, dignity, faith and love. She is with God and will continue to live in our hearts and through the BE ministry. A living Angel, now looking over us all. BE hugs, Ben, ex Darwin Team, Northern Territory, Australia

Sister Josephine was a teacher of the heart! She lived love, compassion and commitment in her own unique way. All who came to her walked away blessed by how much she cared. And her giggle and laughter uplifted many. I know she is thrilled to be fully in the presence of God right now. May she rest in peace knowing how many lives she changed and how grateful we are for her life! Sr. Tarianne DeYonker

What an amazing women Sister Josephine, was! I would not be where I am today if it had not been for Beginning Experience! I also had the honor of getting to know her and we stayed in contact up until she got sick. Rest in peace my dear sweet friend and I know I will see you again one day! Love & Hugs, Betty Patterson, Huntsville Alabama

It is immeasurable how much Josephine has changed peoples lives through the ministry of BE. I will always be grateful for her in my life and remember her fondly as the warm loving and fun person she was. May she rest in peace & guide us through her spirit. Gemma

Deep Heart Felt Gratitude and Appreciation. I remember meeting and dancing with Sr. Josephine in Omaha, NE at the Int. Convention in 1996. Thank you Sr. Josephine and enjoy our Lords company and companionship in Heaven. William A. Hammond, Natchitoches, Louisiana.