Our History

Founded 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. Along with other professionals in grief resolution, counseling, psychology and education, she adapted what Ms. Lamia had written - creating the Beginning Experience weekend. The program was soon running throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK and Ireland. Today, teams of trained facilitators provide the B.E. coping programmes in nine countries across the world.