Separated, divorced, widowed

From heartache to hope


About US


History of Beginning Experience

In 1973, Sister Josephine Stewart, a family counselor at the Catholic Renewal Center in Fort Worth, Texas and a divorced friend, Jo Lamia, attended a Marriage Encounter weekend with the intention of developing a program for engaged couples. In the course of the weekend, Ms. Lamia adapted the Marriage Encounter process to face issues and concerns in her own life that had never been addressed. At the close of the weekend, Sister Josephine saw a profound change occur in her friend.

Sister Josephine and other professionals in grief resolution, counseling, psychology, education and spiritual renewal, adapted Ms. Lamia’s writings to outline the process for the Beginning Experience weekend.

Beginning Experience Ministry

This is a peer grief ministry for separated, divorced and widowed persons. The loss of a loved one through separation, divorce, or death is one of life’s most traumatic experiences. It can result in nearly unbearable feelings of loneliness and grief. Many people who have suffered this loss feel left out by their church, uneasy around married friends, unsure of themselves and uncertain about their futures.


Beginning Experience of Springfield MO is a self-supporting chapter of Beginning Experience International Ministry, Inc. The origins of the Springfield MO chapter began in June, 1994 and has been in continuous existence ever since. It is composed of trained volunteers selected from program participants and commissioned by the International Ministry Center to present the programs.


Beginning Experience of Springfield MO is endorsed by the Diocese of Springfield/Cape Girardeau.


Beginning Experience of Springfield MO is currently the recipient of a grant from the Diocese. The ability to provide Beginning Experience programs and social activities is possible with the help of our Diocese grant, Beginning Experience participants and donations.


If you have any questions don't hesitate to contact us.

PO Box 3002, Springfield, MO 65808-3002







Coping With Life Alone


The Beginning Experience Coping with Life Alone program introduces participants to the 5 Stages of Grief, a normal reaction to any significant loss. The program follows a specific topic each week, and consists of a presentation and a personal talk given by a facilitator on that week's topic followed by reflection time for participants to answer questions related to the topic. Participants and facilitators then discuss the topic in small discussion groups.


Those grieving adults who are still in the early stages of their loss.


6 weeks beginning January 23, 2020 (Spring Session) and August 13, 2020 (Fall Session)

Thursday from 6:30-9:00 p.m.


Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Springfield, MO


$20          Scholarships available



Rebuilding-When Your Relationship Ends program is based on the book of the same title written by Dr. Bruce Fisher. Participants receive hope, encouragement, and support knowing they are not alone in their journey-a proven supportive process for putting one's life back together.


Those who come should be beyond the initial feelings of anger and despair which naturally follow the loss of a loved one.  They should be at the point of wanting to move forward and ready to work to make that desire a reality.


10 weeks beginning May 28, 2020

Thursday 6:30-9:00 p.m.


St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Springfield, MO


$65 (includes books and other materials)      Scholarships available

Beginning Experience Weekend


The Beginning Experience Weekend program helps grieving single-again persons emerge from the darkness of grief into the light of a new beginning, and move into the future with renewed hope.  The program helps deal with the natural grief process and offers an opportunity, through God, for turning the pain of loss into an experience of positive growth.  Founded by Sr. Josephine Steward in 1973 and rooted in the Catholic tradition, the ministry's open ecumenical spirit serves those of all faiths.


The Beginning Experience weekend is designed to be a time of closure on the past and renewed hope for the future.  Those who come should be beyond the initial feelings of anger and despair which usually follow the loss of a loved one.  They should be at the point of wanting a new beginning and ready to work to make that desire a reality.  Once your registration form for the weekend is received, someone from Beginning Experience will contact you.


March 13-15, 2020

October 2-4, 2020


Maranatha Retreat Center (near Everton, MO)


$100   Scholarships available





  • Beginning Experience has been a lifeline for me since my husband died.  I attended all the different programs and made many friends along the way.  Friends that could understand what I was going through. 
    • D.M.
  • It was a life saver to me after my wife's death.  I found pe0ple to talk to who had been through the same thing.
    • Bob
  • It was life changing for me after my divorce.  I learned so much about myself and grew so much as a person.  I finally learned how to be alone and not be lonely.
    • T.L.


  • Under Construction - please check back later

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