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Discipleship Sodalities and Madeleine Groups

How do these groups form and develop?

Madeleine Groups and Discipleship Sodalities form in two different ways:

1)   As follow up from a large group experience in order to continue to foster the communal elements developed and to unpack the experience, i.e. retreats, service trips, etc.  As the group develops, the focus can progress from this specific experience onto other topics or issues that the group would like to focus on that build upon the experience.

2)   Due to interest in a specific topic that the group would like to focus on, i.e. scripture studies, interfaith discussion, men’s/women’s issues, environmental justice, etc.  These topics can develop and change as the group sees fit.

In their initial weeks, Madeleine Groups and Discipleship Sodalities take on an “open nature,” meaning that any and everyone is welcome to attend community sessions.  This period not only allows students to encourage their peers to participate in a group, but also for each group member to discern their involvement within the community.  During this stage each group develops a sense of community and most will move to a “closed status” since the addition of new members can be disruptive to the community’s cohesiveness.  At this point, community participants are asked to take on some level of commitment regarding their consistent and intentional participation within their community.  Some communities can maintain an “open status” if it is more fruitful for their particular community.  Ideally Madeleine Groups and Discipleship Sodalities would meet for at least one academic year, with the hope that they would continue on in future academic years as Madeleine Groups.  Occasionally communities might combine with others or separate into smaller groups to facilitate a more intimate community dynamic and engaging faith discussion.

Besides small faith communities that are gender specific, no groups should exclude an individual for any reason.

Small Faith Community participants and leaders should also maintain a level of confidentiality that fosters open and safe communication so that each member is welcome to share their thoughts and experiences.  The exception to this confidentiality upholds that if there is concern of an individual hurting themselves, hurting others, or being hurt by others then group leaders reserve the right to communicate these concerns to the Campus Minister for Retreats and Faith Communities for appropriate follow-up.

What happens in a typical meeting?

Discipleship Sodalities and Madeleine Groups each meet on a weekly basis for about an hour and a half.  Each community session begins and ends with an element of prayer that sets the tone for the time together and sends each member off in the spirit of prayer.  These elements of prayer could include, but are not limited to, unpacking scripture readings, candlepass, sharing intentions, lectio divina, imaginative prayer, or another method that helps each individual connect with God.  Community sessions also provide avenues for relationship building and faith discussion.  Content for faith discussion develops from the community’s interest and Campus Ministry support. Occasionally communities might decide to engage in an activity that helps relieve stress at certain points of the academic year, such as getting ice cream, watching a movie, or going for a hike.  These activities aim to enhance or refresh the communal dynamic within a community’s stages of development or that propel the community deeper into a topic of conversation.


Have another idea or looking for a different type of group?  Questions about Small Faith Communities?  Looking to get involved?  Contact Meaghan Crowley.Sketch of the Madeleine

Meaghan Crowley

Campus Minister for Christian Leadership and Retreats

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Campus Ministry

Liberty Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 0408