From left: 2013 JustFaith graduates Peggy Denison, Ellen Ferrone, Joan Bennek, Sheila Read

From left: 2013 JustFaith graduates Peggy Denison, Ellen Ferrone, Joan Bennek, Sheila Read

Congratulations to the latest group of JustFaith graduates, who recently completed a spiritual journey learning about poverty and Catholic social teaching on living the Gospel call in the modern world. “It’s been life-changing,” said Ellen Ferrone. “I talk about it all the time.”

“I think it opened up a whole global realization of haves and have-nots,” said Joan Bennek. “We really got to see the differences between those who have something and those born into poverty throughout the world. ” 

JustFaith is a small group program aimed at personal transformation and helping participants find how God is calling them to serve people who are poor, vulnerable or experiencing injustice.  The national program, offered since 2002 at parishes across the country, has graduated more than 30,000 people.

Ferrone said her biggest areas of growth were “the awareness of what I have to share with others and recognizing when enough is enough.”

JustFaith is a challenging program. It encourages participants to discuss difficult social issues and consider making changes in lifestyle to more closely imitate Christ’s call to compassion.

The program has sections on poverty, racism, immigration, hunger, simple living and nonviolence. Participants learn through books, videos, small group discussion, prayer, guest speakers and immersion trips.

The 2012-13 class visited local agencies to hear the stories of people living in poverty. A woman with two daughters spoke of becoming homeless due to illness and later succeeding in buying her own trailer. Refugees from Burma, Iraq and Somalia described their experiences in refugee camps and their efforts to build a new life in Durham. And former felons spoke of their hope in a job training program (see related story here).

Meeting people with experience of injustice was transformative. “It’s really encouraged me to move beyond my comfort zone and not be afraid of interacting with people who are marginalized,” Ferrone said.

To learn more and explore if JustFaith is a good fit for you at this point in your spiritual journey, please contact Sheila Read at sheila.read@stfrancisraleigh.org, 919-847-8205 x420.