Thursday, December 9, 2010

Companions on a Journey

Every month I look forward to a gathering with my Journey Group, seven lovely women, five from the College of Saint Benedict student body and one other staff member. We are on a spiritual journey together, and every time we meet our combined paths become more and more entwined.

We have talked about sundry topics over the past four years, having started in 2007, when the five seniors were first-year Bennies. Stephanie and I are co-facilitators and have been on this journey with the women who will graduate in May. Every month, we have a meal together, and then we spend two hours talking about holy things just as Benedict and Scholastica did in the Life and Miracles of St. Benedict.

Because of the disclosures on both our parts, we seven have bonded over important parts of each other's lives. We mean something to one another. We have moved beyond being acquaintenances to deep friendship. And yet, our friendships are not the kind that would cause us to go to the latest Harry Potter movie. Rather, years down the road, we will meet at a St. Ben's reunion and will immediately feel comfortable talking about our spiritual lives.

The Journey Groups are a central part of Companions on a Journey, a program that began when the College of St. Benedict received a Lilly Foundation grant for the express purpose of exploring vocation. Various liberal arts colleges in the country received similar grants and were given free rein as to how they would express the playing out of exploring vocation. We chose to set up a program of guided spiritual companioning. Since the very beginning, this program has been a success and continues yearly to foster the kinds of close ties I mentioned occurring with my companions and me.

Every year that I have participated, I have been especially grateful to be part of this rich experience, but this year, more than any other, I am indebted to my spiritual companions for their dedication to each other. They have shown me the kind of faithfulness I hope for them in the future. With programs of this caliber, the College of Saint Benedict continues to be a very special place.

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