Sr. Mary Margaret LazioWe live in polarizing times, with opposing world views, rampant stereotyping and little listening to one another. Our times call for deeper conversations and contemplative living. The mission and charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph compels sisters, associates and partners in mission to bring union, reconciliation and all-inclusive love to our everyday lives.

That’s what Walk with Wisdom invites us to explore.  The Life Long Formation Committee reviewed this program and decided that we would try to find ways to make it available to Agrégées, Associates, Partners in Mission and Sisters.  In June twenty-one communicators, associate directors and initial and ongoing formation staff came together online to learn about this program and how to offer it locally.

Walk with Wisdom is a six-part series offered by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Louis province that invites sisters, associates and partners in mission to engage in prayer, facilitated conversations and shared experiences that deepen their understanding of the CSSJ charism, and discover a gospel-centered way to proceed in one’s discussion of justice issues.

“The idea of it came out of our desire as a community to deepen our understanding and the relationships we have in trying to bring about the community of God and bring about the mission of Jesus,” says Sister Mary Margaret Lazio of St. Louis’ province leadership.

Each session of this curriculum-based program focuses on building right relationships through topics such as charism, worldview, stereotypes and conflict. It is intended that people gather in learning communities in groups of six to 10 and commit to experiencing the program as a whole. One or more group members may serve as facilitator from session to session.

Sr. Marilyn LottThe core components of each session include prayer, readings, small-group activity and a video, which features a sister and an associate modeling the contemplative conversation that the participants will engage in. The videos also feature Walk with Wisdom program advisor, Sister Carol Zinn, SSJ (Chestnut Hill).

“The discussion leader or facilitator has the materials to invite the participants to continue the conversation,” S. Carol says. “It seems like that is what the world is hungry for—to have a space where what I think and feel and have to offer matters and the learning is mutual.”

“We hope that each person will bring his or her life experience to the conversation because that invites me to listen to you and to go deeper in my own experience,” says S. Mary Margaret.

Each session typically takes two to three hours. Groups independently decide the time frame in which they will complete the entire series, depending on their meeting frequency. “That’s not written in stone either, because some people may take more time on some of the modules,” says Sister Marilyn Lott of St. Louis’ province leadership. “We encourage people to be in a real listening and learning community together so they continue to develop their understanding of the materials.”

Associate Peggy Maguire, co-director of association in the St. Louis province and Walk with Wisdom participant says, “I found Walk with Wisdom to be an enjoyable and effective opportunity to deepen my understanding of our charism. The sessions were practical, related to my everyday experience and formed a deeper bond of community among us.” To lear more on Walk with Wisdom click here