About Beginning Experience

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.

Kansas City Chapter

Beginning Experience of Greater Kansas City, Inc. (BEGKC) is a self-supporting chapter of Beginning Experience International Ministry, Inc. The origins of BEGKC chapter began July 1, 1976 and has been in continuous existence ever since. It is composed of trained volunteers selected from program participants and affiliated with the International Ministry Center to present the programs.


BEGKC is endorsed by the Archdioceses of  Kansas City in Kansas and the Diocese of Kansas City/Saint Joseph in Missouri.


At this time BEGKC does not receive funding from either diocesan. The ability to provide Beginning Experience programs and social activities is only possible with the help of our Beginning Experience participants and donations.

Peer Ministry

Beginning Experience programs are presented by a team of people made up of former participants, or “wounded healers” who themselves came to Beginning Experience grieving the loss of their marriage. These trained facilitators have experienced similar losses, can relate to the guilt and grief endured by those who have lost their partner, and are willing to share their own experience to help others.


The Beginning Experience programs (Weekend and Coping With Life Alone) help 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 programs help deal with the natural grief process and offer an opportunity, through God, for turning the pain of loss into an experience of positive growth.


Whether you choose to attend the Beginning Experience Weekend only, or in addition to other support for the single again, the program’s invitational process offers the opportunity to move toward a new beginning in life. Its quality and effectiveness are well documented.

Founded by a Catholic nun and rooted in the Christian tradition, the ministry’s open, ecumenical spirit serves those of all faiths.