Women participating in a Catholic Bible study programme have reported reduced stress in their lives, according to a survey.
The Walking with Purpose Bible study program at Catholic parishes around the United States reported the courses have had a positive impact on their attitudes and lifestyle, in addition to 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 nonprofit organisation based in Greenwich.
When asked about ways that their involvement in the Bible study has impacted their lives, 91 percent of women reported they are either somewhat or significantly able to better manage stress, and 94 percent indicated that they are somewhat or significantly more patient with others.
"The Walking with Purpose Bible study has taught me that God wants me to live a joyful life, to live strengthened, to not be stressed," said one respondent. "That has greatly impacted my personal life; I am a happier, more grateful person and I can keep the stress in my life in perspective."
Another commented that "the friendships and bonds created among the women of our community are directly attributable to Walking with Purpose," while another wrote, "I now appreciate family and friends more than I ever had."
Ninety percent of survey respondents reported that their relationships with family members have improved because of the group Bible study; 93% said friendships have grown or improved.
Walking with Purpose was founded in 2002 by Lisa Brenninkmeyer. A convert to Catholicism, she "saw a lack of fresh, relevant Bible studies that could cater to young mothers and took it upon herself to create one with the support of her Maryland parish," according to a news release.
In the last year alone, the organisation has helped more than 35,000 women "deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ," it said.
Brenninkmeyer said: "I've spoken with countless women at dozens of parishes over the years, and it always warms my heart to hear how their lives are being transformed by Walking with Purpose, in so many ways. When you put Christ first in your life, the rest falls into place."
Julie Ricciardi, the organization's CEO, said: "This is the 10th year that we have surveyed participants in our parish-based Walking with Purpose programs. 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 during a March to April time frame. There was a 41 percent response rate.
Information on how to bring Walking with Purpose to a parish, can be found at https://walkingwithpurpose.com/become-a-leader