GREENWICH, Conn. (CNS) – Women participating in the Walking with Purpose Bible study program in Catholic parishes across the country said the classes had a positive impact on their attitudes and lifestyle, as well as being a source of inspiration and a tool to bring them closer to God.
They cited increased patience, reduced stress and improved relationships with family and friends as benefits of the program, according to results of a survey conducted by Walking with Purpose, a Greenwich-based non-profit organization.
When asked how their participation in Bible study had impacted their lives, 91% of women said they were somewhat able to handle stress better, and 94% said they were a little or a lot more patient with others.
“The Walking with Purpose Bible study taught me that God wants me to live a joyful life, to be strengthened, to be stress-free,” one respondent said. “It had a huge impact on my personal life; I am a happier, more grateful person and can keep the stress in my life in perspective.
Another commented that “the friendships and bonds created between the women in our community are directly attributable to Walking with Purpose,” while another wrote, “I now appreciate family and friends more than ever.”
Ninety percent of those surveyed said their relationships with family members improved as a result of group Bible study; 93% said friendships have grown or improved.
Walking with Purpose was founded in 2002 by Lisa Brenninkmeyer. Converted to Catholicism, she “saw a lack of fresh and relevant Bible studies that could meet the needs of young mothers and took it upon herself to create one with the support of her Maryland parish,” according to a press release. .
In the past year alone, the organization has helped more than 35,000 women “deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ,” he said.
Said Brenninkmeyer, “I have spoken with countless women in dozens of parishes over the years, and it always warms my heart to hear how their lives are transformed by Walking with Purpose, in so many ways. When you put Christ first in your life, the rest falls into place.
“This is the 10th year that we have surveyed participants in our parish Walking with Purpose programs,” says Julie Ricciardi, CEO of the organization. “Year after year, we see evidence that women’s overall happiness tends to increase as a result of group Bible study with their sisters in Christ.”
The survey included 7,880 women who participated anonymously via SurveyMonkey for a period from March to April. There was a response rate of 41%.