Frequently Asked Questions
Group Spiritual Companioning
- What is Group Spiritual Companioning?
- Why Join?
- Who Can Join?
- Do I need to be Catholic to join a group?
- What is the size of a group?
- Who directs a group?
- When do groups meet?
- What happens during a group meeting?
- What are the topics?
- Do I need to prepare for a group meeting?
- When are groups formed?
- Is there a cost to participate in a group?
Group Spiritual Companioning are small groups who meet once a month to explore issues related to their vocation. Some of the issues one may encounter in his/her life include: social life, family life, career/work, or spirituality.
Asking questions is an important part of life. So is celebrating accomplishments, experiencing challenges, or working through transitions. Many of us have a yearning to share our experiences of life with a community of people. We look for people who are grounded and willing to listen, to really hear our questions, challenges, joys. It is for that purpose Companioning Groups were formed.
Companioning Groups give us the opportunity to tell our life story and be heard with empathy and compassion, a sacred space free from judgment or criticism. The goal of these groups is not to solve each other's problems, but rather help each other to name and come to understand more deeply our experiences.
Companioning Groups are an opportunity to help us slow down, keep perspective, and maintain balance as we explore different ideas about spirituality and meaning; to dig deeper and wider into our pressing questions and life experiences, to be open to others and the voice of God to examine our world view, intuitions and values so as to act in the world with greater intention and integrity.
Whether you are asking big or small questions, celebrating a joy, or facing a crossroad, sharing your journey with others like you may be sound reasons for joining a companioning group.
View testimonies of CSB students who have or are currently participating in our Journey Group Program.
Any One! Most people who join a group do so because they wish to seek a deeper understanding of their inner-self, are struggling with a transition in their life, want a sacred place where they can explore life's greater questions, enhance the values they already have, or experience community. Groups are available to alumnae of CSB, Alumni of SJU, parishes, schools, colleagues at work, friends, or family.
You do not need to be catholic or follow a particular faith tradition. Our companioning group program is not about preaching or teaching. There is no imposition of beliefs. Our program is about active listening and reflecting and engaging in conversations that help us discover our own unique life journey. This is a time to learn, to know more about who we are in light of our connection to others. It is also about supporting others searching and exploring their own journey as well.
Each group is comprised of 4 to 6 adults from diverse backgrounds, ages, and perspectives.
You designate your group's facilitator(s). Some groups rotate the responsibility for each meeting/session. While others prefer to have one member serve as the facilitator. Facilitators are full participants in the group activities and are an important aspect of the group. The facilitators help serve as witness to life as a 'constant on-going journey and increasing vocational awareness'. Facilitators help model that reality through their personal self disclosure and interaction with the group members. Others who have participated in our program have often been inspired by and remarked about the inter-generational benefits "Wow! She is 70 (or 30, or 40, or 50) and she is still asking these important questions!
Companioning groups meet once a month. Your group may decide to meet year round or during the academic year.
Each session/meeting lasts about two hours.
Your group will choose the time that works best for your members. The meeting date and time are decided by each group based on when each member is available. Some groups meet in the morning during breakfast. Some meet during lunch. Other groups meet over the supper hour. Your group may choose to meet during weekdays or on weekends.
Each session involves sharing a meal followed by a good mix of silence, reflection, and conversation focused on a given topic.
The shared meal:
One important facet of community building is the opportunity to share a meal. We believe experiencing a common table prior to the companioning session will increase participants' focus on the companioning encounter.
Sharing Reflection and Conversation:
This is time to share your story and be heard. The sharing begins with a brief reflection. One member of the group then shares an experience in her personal life and how the theme is reflected in the experience. After the member finishes sharing others are invited to ask questions. The sharing and responding continues until all members of the group has had an opportunity to share.
We have created the topics for you. When you join a group you will be given a copy of a reflection guide titled Group Spiritual Companioning Manual. The manual's purpose is to help you prepare for the session by asking questions designed to facilitate reflection and exploration. There are enough themes to last 4 years. The themes of each year progress as you progress. View Themes for Journey Groups.
We recommend spending 20 to 30 minutes each week reflecting on the topic for your upcoming session. At the close of each session is an activity for you to do on your own or with others.
You can sign up to join companioning group at anytime through our online registration form.
There is not cost to joining a Spiritual Companioning Group.