Mission-based activities entrenched in the beliefs of CJ’s namesakes, Blessed Rev. William Joseph Chaminade and St. Julie Billiart, are what help unite the CJ community year in and year out. One of these activities encourages faculty and staff to come together in faith-based groups called sodalities to open up about their faith and their love for CJ, along with their struggles and some things they need guidance from peers with.
“Sodalities are among the core components of what makes working in a Catholic school so special,” said Jama Badinghaus, school counselor, City Connects Coordinator, and organizer of faculty and staff sodalities. “There is not only value but priority in stopping the routine to remind ourselves of how we are interconnected, to help us share our joys and struggles, and to deepen our personal faith.”
Sodalities trace back to the late 1700s and early 1800s when Blessed Chaminade fled France for Spain and began preaching to small groups to help reinvigorate the faith after the effects of the French Revolution, eventually establishing the Marianist Order, born from these small group sodalities.
These faith-based, conversation driven groups have centuries old roots and remain incredibly valuable today, especially in times of great turmoil and uncertainty.
“At a time when little seems certain and many challenges can't be solved easily, sodalities have provided a comforting space for faculty and staff to be reminded of the gift of community,” said Badinghaus. “Perhaps not always to fix anything, but to provide a space where listening can offer support, strength, and hope. There is grace in a reminder that while much is different in the ways we interact this year, none of us have to be alone in our efforts to stay focused on our ultimate mission of serving students.”
Serving students is not possible if faculty and staff are not connected and compelled to support each other. With COVID-19 measures in place on top of the typical hustle and bustle of a school year, time for connection with peers can be difficult to come by. CJ leadership made sure to carve out time during the typical workday to allow these sodality groups to gather, discuss, and connect with each other.
“This year, the process of gathering in our sodalities is even more important,” said Kelly Muhl, administrative assistant to the principal. “Allowing us to connect to community members that we do not see face to face within the confines of COVID-19 and our safety measures was of such great comfort to me. I love our community and miss the sharing of day to day with my co-workers.”
Spread out across Roger Glass Stadium, home of the CJ Eagles, and surrounding areas, each sodality enjoyed the fall weather and shared joys, victories, struggles, and takeaways from the school year so far, concluding with prayer.
“Just being able to hear that you are not alone in your struggles day to day, or in finding faith in the process or journey, hearing what has worked and what hasn't was so very helpful to me, personally,” said Muhl. “The time to reflect and pray together was of great comfort!”
--This story was published on November 17, 2020.