Ann Marie "Jo" Lamia

jo lamia_colorBorn in Ohio in 1924, Ann Maria ("Jo") Lamia joined the Navy as a WAVE during WWII and became a lab technician. It was there that she met and married her husband, Peter. After the war, Jo, Peter and their two sons moved to Dallas. During her marriage, Jo hid her frustration and sadness. Peter never knew how many times she was upset with him. His infidelity led to separation and then divorce. After he left, Jo stayed home and smoked, drank coffee and watched TV.  Noticing Jo's depression, Sister Benita Frances, principal at the school Jo's sons attended, asked Jo to fill in for the 6th grade teacher on leave. Jo agreed and thus began a teaching career. When her sons enrolled Bishop Dunne Catholic High School, Jo served on the school board. There she met Assistant Principal Sister Josephine Stewart.

When Sister Josephine's pastor, Fr. Robert Wilson, asked her to create a weekend for engaged couples, she agreed on condition that Jo be part of it; she believed Jo would have a lot to say to engaged couples. In 1973, Jo and Sister Josephine attended a Marriage Encounter weekend to write the program for engaged couples. During this weekend, Jo wrote out all the unfinished grief and anger from her divorce, coming to a peaceful closure on the end of her marriage. Her notebook became the seed of the Beginning Experience® ministry. Jo continued to work with the ministry until her death in 1987.