Jody Johnson, Vis Companion Leader and Formation Director

Jody Johnson, Vis Companion Coordinator

“Companions” is the name given to the group of lay associates or oblates of the Visitation Monastery.  We are people from all walks of life who feel a call to deepen our commitment to the ministry of the Visitation Monastery by studying Salesian spirituality, living its charism in our own contexts of life and work, and participating directly in the ministry of prayer and presence on the Northside.

I knew from the first moment I met these joyful Sisters that I had to find out more…when I first set foot in the Monastery, I had a powerful sense that this was my “spiritual home.” — Jody Johnson

I’m always inspired and deeply moved when people make commitments.  It seems to me that there is something very holy at work when a person makes an offering of himself or herself to something greater than the self. Promises involve looking with the eyes of faith beyond what we can actually see. This is especially true for the Companions now, as we step with the Sisters into the “bright darkness of the future,” discerning together how the ministry of “Living Jesus” on the Northside may grow even as the Sisters age.  Important questions face us: What does the monastic life mean for lay people?  How can we take on more of the actual leadership of the ministry?  What is the role of community in our ministry?  Although none of us knows exactly what the Visitation Monastery of North Minneapolis will look like in the future, we share a deep desire to carry on the work that first touched our own hearts.

As the new Companions’ Coordinator, I follow in the formative steps of Maryann Pearson. Like many others, I knew from the first moment I met these joyful Sisters that I had to find out more.  And, when I first set foot in the Monastery, I had a powerful sense that this was my “spiritual home.” Fifteen plus years later, this only feels more true and my passion to learn what it means to “Live Jesus” is undiminished.  To my role as Companions’ Coordinator I bring an educational background in both theology and psychology and over 25 years in the mental health field.  My husband, Bryce, is a United Methodist minister and an avid bread baker.  We have three sons, ages 28, 25, and 18, and two grandsons, ages 2 and 1 and have just become empty nesters.  I look forward with excitement to this new chapter in my own life and to walking with the Companions and Sisters into a future filled with God’s possibilities!