Forming small intentional communities, the women focus on living simply and building respectful relationships. The program includes a weekly Sharing of the Heart evening where households share and learn from one another. This is a simple practice that the Sisters of St. Joseph have kept alive for centuries. The workers go through so much transformation during the year that it is essential that they grow together and contribute to one another’s experiences, rather than attempting to go it alone.
In addition to the values of community, the women are instilled with the values of living simply. The St. Joseph Workers share a food and community budget in addition to their individual stipends. Learning to communicate as a household on how to distribute these resources is another part of the program. As a result, the women become more intentional, not only about their relationships with one another, but also about the practical matters that go into creating community. At the beginning of each volunteer year, the women of each household craft their own ‘community covenant’- a consensus built set of guidelines addressing how they will live together and build their community.