Frequently Asked Questions

Journey Groups

Tell your life story and be heard!

Once a month for two hours we have the opportunity to have that conversation with a group of women who truly want to know your response to: "How are you?"
                                                                             ~Monica Fallon, Class of 2012.

Journey Groups are small groups of women who meet once a month to explore issues related to their vocation. Some of the issues one may encounter while attending CSB include: social life, academic studies, or spirituality.

Asking questions, celebrating accomplishments, experiencing challenges, or working through transitions are important aspects of life. How do you stay on top of all of this without getting swept away? Many of us have a yearning to share our experiences 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 Journey Groups were formed. Below are frequently asked questions about our Journey Group Program and how participating in a group may benefit you.

      
Why Join a Journey Group?
What Faith Traditions Are Welcomed To Participate in a Journey Group?
How Many Students Participate in a Group?
Who Directs a Journey Group?
How Often and When do Journey Groups Meet?
What Happens During a Journey Group Session?
Who Chooses the Topics for Each Journey Group Session?
Do I Need to Prepare for a Journey Group Session?
When are Journey Groups Formed?
Do Journey Groups Meet All Four Years?
How Do I Join a Journey Group?

Why join a Journey Group?

Journey Groups are a time to slow down, turn off, keep perspective, and feel balanced. There is so much happening at any one time during college. Journey Groups are a time to turn everything off and give yourself permission to take care of YOU!

Journey Groups give us the opportunity to tell our life story and be heard with empathy and compassion. 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. Journey Groups stress respectful communication and confidentiality so what you need to say can be shared with confidence, trust, and without worry. At the beginning of each session all members are reminded that we are here for each other. What happens in the group stays in the group. All members commit to providing an environment free from judgment and criticism.

Journey Groups are an opportunity to explore who we are. We follow a reflection guide that offers some reflection to help us go a little deeper into questions we may have about ourselves. Journey Groups provide time to 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 journey group.           
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Who can join a Journey Group?

Any CSB student. Most students who join a journey group do so because they wish to seek a deeper understanding of their 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.
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Do I need to be Catholic to join a Journey Group? What if I am questioning my own beliefs?

You do not need to be catholic or follow a particular faith tradition. Our journey 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.
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How many students are in a group?

Each group is comprised of 4 to 5 students grouped by class year and may be from diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
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Who directs a Journey Group?

Each group is assigned one or two facilitators. 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 dis-closure and interaction with the group members. Students who have participated in our Journey Program have found inspiration by the inter-generational benefits. The intergenerational participants (students and facilitators) demonstrate that life truly is a journey on which we run, limp, walk, stumble . . . and for which we need a community of family, friends, and other groups. The facilitators could include a combination of alumnae, sisters, faculty, staff, or female friends of the college of varying ages.
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How often and when do Journey Groups Meet?

Journey groups meet once a month 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, some meet during the afternoon, other groups meet in the evening. Your group may choose to meet during weekdays or on weekends.
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What happens during a Journey Group session/meeting?

Each session is structured and involves two components:  sharing a snack followed by a companining process.  The structure of the session is to provide a 'safe space' atmosphere of openness, mutual respect, trust, and community.

Sharing the snack:
One important facet of community building is the opportunity to share a meal around a common table. We believe experiencing this common table prior to the companioning session will build trust and community and increase participants' focus on the companioning encounter.  During this time you will have an opportunity to engage in general conversation and share your experiences since your last session.

Sharing reflection and conversation/companioning encounter:
The companioning process includes a good mix of silence, reflection, and conversation focused on a given topic. 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 that relates to the session's topic and how the theme is reflected in her 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.

Each session follows Respectful Communication guidelines and Mutual Invitation (1).
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Who chooses the topics for each Journey Group session/meeting?

We have created the topics for you. When you join a journey group you will be given 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 is one set of guides for each year you participate in the Journey Group. The themes of each year progress as you progress through your time with CSB.
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Do I need to prepare for a Journey Group Session?

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.
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When are Journey Groups formed?

Journey Groups are formed at the beginning of the academic school year. We occasionally will open groups at the start of the spring semester if there is enough interest among students. Invitations are sent during the spring and summer to all incoming and returning students.

You can sign up to join a journey group at anytime through our online registration form.
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Do Journey Groups meet all four years of College?

Yes. Most groups are formed during the first year they enter CSB. You will stay with your group for all four years. During your time at St Ben's you may experience fluxuation with classmates, roommates, or your major field of study. As these changes take place, your journey group will help provide grounding and stability.

If you did not join a group during your first year you may join a group with your class at any time. We have new groups of sophomores, juniors, and seniors starting each year as well.
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How do I join?

You may register to participate in a Journey Group by completing our online registration form.  You may also register by completing one of the information brochures we have mailed to all new incoming students (mailed during the summer before school starts).  The brochures are also posted at several locations around CSB.  You may also contact us by email journey@csbsju.edu to sign up.
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(1) Mutual Invitation is a process for building inclusion and affirmative invitation to all members of the group.  The process was developed by Rev. Eric Law.