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Becoming Experts in Humanity: Mastering the Internal Curriculum

June 16, 2021

Josephine Lombardi, Ph.D. (c) 2021 All rights reserved.

In 1985, Pope St. John Paul II said, we need faith leaders who are “experts in humanity, who know the depths of the human heart, who can share the joys and hopes, agonies, and distress of people today,…” To become an expert in humanity, certain basic life skills–the inner work, or internal curriculum of life must be mastered. To reach full emotional and spiritual maturity, our spiritual cataracts need to be removed so that we can see ourselves and others with empathy, love, and clarity. “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Cor. 13:12).

This process involves discipline, deep humility, self-knowledge, courage, self-regulation, and understanding of the factors that influence human behaviour, including family of origin issues. Following a multi-disciplinary approach, this journey of self-discovery is supported by the wisdom of our faith tradition. This knowledge, coupled with the internal curriculum, leads to growth and deep understanding of the human condition.

Self-mastery prepares us to investigate influences that hinder or help the quest for authentic freedom: that is, the ability to reason without fear and the ability to love without fear. Fear, the greatest obstacle, prevents us from becoming an expert in humanity. Only “perfect love” can remove fear (1 Jn. 4:18). An expert in humanity is a lover of humanity, open to growing in self-awareness and humility.

Interested in learning more about the internal curriculum? Consider reading my book, Experts in Humanity: A Journey of Self-Discovery and Healing, awarded first place in the category of Family Life by the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada (2017) and watch this video, Empowering Parents to Be Experts in Humanity, from the 2021 annual conference of the Ontario Association of Parents in Catholic Education (OAPCE).

Visit my website, www.josephinelombardi.com, to learn more about Experts in Humanity and my recent film project, The First Lady and Her Successors, now available for on demand viewing.

Announcing a new date for viewing my film: Feast of the Visitation, Monday, May 31, 2021 7pm EST for 24 hours

Dear Friends,

Many thanks for the overwhelming show of support and encouragement regarding the premiere of The First Lady and Her Successors. I’ve received many wonderful emails and messages, telling me how much the film touched you and inspired you. I’m delighted to share the film will be available for viewing on the Feast of the Visitation, May 31, 2021 at 7pm for 24 hours.

Some of you have given me permission to share your feedback. I’ve included some of your heartwarming comments below.

“Dr. Lombardi what an incredible film. I didn’t think I could get closer to Mary but you brought me even closer to her. A deeper understanding and love for the woman that make it possible for us to be forgiven by her son.” – Sandra

“Words cannot describe the joy in my soul. This movie was so powerful. It has brought a deep beauty inside. I am so grateful to have been blessed to see this film. What a wonderful job Dr. Josephine. Bravo. I wish I could have access to this regularly. It has left a profound stamp on my heart. God bless you for taking this initiative to bring Our Lady closer to us in our minds and hearts.” -Teresa

“I just finished watching the film and I don’t have words to express how amazing it was!! WOW, WOW, WOW!!! Dr. Josephine did a wonderful job at capturing our Lady in every aspect of her being. She was able to make us see that she is approachable and she is our Mother that we can always turn to her for hope, strength, and intercession. Wishing her all the success in the world that many people will watch this film and have their lives transformed and that she will lead us all to her son, Jesus.” – Gina

“The film left me speechless! What an incredible gift!!! I hope it will be viewed over and over by many. An extremely valuable tool for reflection. All the sharing by the beautiful women in the film, touched me profoundly and took me deep into my own heart. Dr. Josephine seamlessly navigated everyone through the rosary mysteries as a mother lovingly takes her children through a beautiful garden. I am in awe. So well done. A wonderful tribute to our Blessed Mother and all her successors…including Dr. Josephine Lombardi! The presence of the Holy Spirit was evident. Thank you so very much, Dr. Josephine !!! God bless you.” – Felicia

“Bless you Dr. Josephine and thank you!!! What wonderful work you’ve done–an homage to our Lady!! Daniela always says Our Lady is my favourite person–in less than two hours–based on scripture, personal testimonials and art you were able to transport me to a time of deep reflection–filled with only thoughts of the Mother of our Saviour!! Thank you for sharing the stories of her successors! Women who have experienced joy, sorrow and hope–all with Our Lady’s guidance!! Wonderful and important work!! Thank you and all these women for being incredible teachers…Thank you again and God bless you.” -Linda

“Our beloved Mother Mary has always been a source of safety fo me. Someone I can go to and feel protection and guidance. I often try to stand where She was in Her life and find the peace She must have had to live Her life. You, dear, Dr. Josephine Lombardi, have made our Blessed Mother even more relatable in your incredible film. In showing us that the way these amazing women you interviewed hear and answer the call to encourage other women. To follow in the simple, humble and loving footsteps Our precious Mother left for us. I am grateful to be able to take part in so many beautiful events that celebrate Mamma Mary and this film was by far one of my favourite! May God continue to bless you Dr. Josephine Lombardi with the ability to teach us and allow us to experience our faith in a more mature manner. Thank you! – Carm

“I just wanted to say I was invited to watch the film…and I was amazingly struck in awe of watching this testimonial…Dr. Josephine brought an amazingly new and simple perspective on Our Lady…my heart was touched as the mysteries were explained and made real. I like to think that I always had a relationship with Our Lady however this film brought a new simple way and real way to view Our Lady…I was thinking that something like this should be available to so many for I believe it is valuable. As a man it would be amazing for other men to watch this for it teaches the value of women…I could go on and on but just wanted to say thank you and God bless Dr. Josephine in this work and may Our Lady guide this film in living rooms of many families…God bless and thank you.” -Frank

“That was beautiful and inspiring! You (referring to Mary Luciani) were eloquent and wise. And lovely! How wonderful to have a presentation of an aspect of our faith articulated through the life our Holy Mother and shared by women. The richness and how it resonates in our life as women was demonstrated with such beauty, wisdom, and gentleness. Thank you for sharing this with me.” – Carrie

“What a lovely and inspirational film this was. First Lady, indeed and the one whose faith was bigger than her fear.”

-St. Elizabeth’s Villa, community chaplain.

“All I can say right now is WOW! What impressed me was the superior art work that told the story so well. It must have taken many hours just to search for the art. The art and the dialogue during the mysteries show what a wonderful God we have, how special Mary is and how she always said yes to God’s will. Also, what a loving mother we have in Mary. The quality of the women who were interviewed were amazing–their great faith, their knowledge and life experiences that showed their level of trust and love. The whole script was woven so beautifully together. I can’t even imagine the amount of prayer, work and time that went into this movie. It encouraged me to see these spiritually mature women who are making a difference in religious education at the adult level. I liked the end of the story when the lily bloomed at important times. What a wonderful touch of God’s love. Thank you for this opportunity to see this movie.” – Friend of Patricia Coulter

“Beautiful presentation about our “First Lady”. I was moved by the personal poignant stories. There was a calm peaceful energy throughout. It is such a beautiful and powerful message. My sincerest thanks to Josie for sharing the moving video with us. As a woman, mother and seeker it touched me deeply on many levels. Wonderful! Thank you!” Friend of Patricia Coulter

“What an amazing treat. I loved it. Josie did an excellent job, and her voice is calm. The story of Mary is told in a beautiful way with scripture. There is so much in it I will be thinking about if for a while. It gives praise to God and honour to Mary.!” Friend of Patricia Coulter

Many thanks to all!!! Please pray for the film as I discern next steps.

In Christ,


Announcing a New Film by Dr. Josephine Lombardi

Film will be available for viewing on http://www.josephinelombardi.com on Monday, May 31, 2021, Feast of the Visitation at 7:00 pm EST for 24 hours.

If you would like to support Dr. Lombardi and any future film projects, consider making a $10.00 donation.

All donations over $10.00 will receive a copy of the e-book, Living with the Rosary (Expanded Edition). The expanded edition includes many narration bits associated with the mysteries of the rosary included in the film. Please note that because this is not a charity, donations are not tax deductible.

Donations can be e-transferred to josephine.lombardi@utoronto.ca. Please include your full name and email address in the comment box when you prepare to e-transfer. The E-book will be sent to your email address after the premiere. A PayPal option will be available closer to the premiere.

Those who donate using PayPal button below will receive the e-book with payment. Just wait after transaction until you are redirected to the book. Many thanks to all who have already donated.

From Virtue Signaling to Virtue Living: Becoming the Virtuous Leader

Josephine Lombardi, Ph.D.

Professor, Author, Consultant

March 29, 2021


(c) 2021

In their book Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification, Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman propose the rediscovery of the study of character and virtue because they believe character can be cultivated. These authors, like Aristotle (384 B.C. – 322 B.C.) and St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 A.D.), writing centuries before them, believe it is worthwhile to take some time to nurture and develop good habits through practice and repetition.

Aristotle, an ancient Greek philosopher, was one of the greatest thinkers on the topic of virtue. According to Aristotle, virtue, the habit of behaving in the right way or in the right manner, is learned or acquired through repetition. Similarly, the Book of Wisdom (8:7) teaches, “And if anyone loves righteousness, her labors are virtues; for she teaches self-control and prudence, justice and courage; nothing in life is more profitable for mortals than these.” Clearly, ancient authors understood the benefit of acquiring cardinal or natural virtues.

Becoming a virtuous leader involves a process, learning foundational habits, which are interconnected and necessary for a leader to become integrated and courageous. Corporate leaders, with a sincere desire to grow and lead with virtue, moving beyond the perceived superficiality of virtue signaling, will benefit from working on the following six habits: humility, magnanimity, courage, prudence, self-control, and justice, habits examined by many classical and contemporary authors. Virtue living involves more than the act of expressing an opinion—it involves discipline, authenticity, and concrete actions.

Definition of Virtue Signaling“The action or practice of publicly expressing opinions or sentiments intended to demonstrate one’s good character or the moral correctness of one’s position on a particular issue.” (Source: Oxford Language Dictionary, 2021).


Twenty-five years ago, one of my favorite professors asked a classroom of graduate students, “What does it feel like to be in my presence?” This question has stayed with me throughout my professional career. My philosophy professor was training us to be self-aware, cultivating the habit of humility or knowing the truth about ourselves. She was modeling virtuous leadership, showing us humility was the first step toward becoming a virtuous person. 

It can be frustrating to work under a leader who lacks self-knowledge, who doesn’t know her presence and behavior make people feel micro-managed at best, paranoid at worst. A humble leader takes the necessary time to work on her self, investigating her thoughts, words, and actions, observing whether they are life giving or destructive, apologizing when she has made a mistake. Sadly, pride keeps some leaders from being vulnerable enough to look within and examine troublesome behavior. 


Magnanimity is the habit of striving for excellence. I recall the story of an administrator who experienced great difficulty saying no to new requests. She found herself running from meeting to meeting, struggling to complete projects by deadlines and failing to delegate when she could. After several years, she went on maternity leave and was succeeded by a very competent leader. After the successor’s first year of service to the company, a mutual friend told the predecessor that she spent the year comparing the leadership styles of the two administrators. She told the former that she did ten things 90% and the latter worked on one thing at a time 100%, meaning the successor strove for excellence and precision, asking for help with other tasks. We get sloppy when we try to do too many things without delegating or asking for help. Setting priorities and knowing ourselves, including our gifts, helps us to strive for excellence. 


Virtuous leaders work on being brave. Aristotle, in his Nichomachean Ethics, expressed the importance of being habitual when it comes to facing our fears. A brave leader enters the arena, ready to compete and to be victorious. A brave leader resists the temptation to quit, especially when he is afraid. Endurance builds character and helps him to investigate his fears using his ability to reason. When we can face what is fearful, Aristotle says, we can become brave, “and when we have become brave we are most able to endure what is fearful,” (Book II, Nicomachean Ethics). A brave leader, having cultivated the habit of knowing the truth about him self, strives for excellence and resists the desire to be liked by everyone, trusting he has made the best decision. Becoming brave involves a process rooted in truth and clarity, whereas fear can make us irrational. 


Brave leaders are prepared to be prudent in decision-making. A prudent leader, according to Aristotle, is someone who is “able to deliberate well concerning what is good and expedient” for herself and the community she serves, (Book VI). Prudence is the habit of reasoning well and the ability to act accordingly. A prudent leader gathers information, seeks advice, and makes a decision after she has investigated and examined competing views, searching for the truth and the best outcome for her community.


A prudent leader exercises self-control when it comes to the expression of emotion and opinions. A leader who has worked on self-control can express anger the right way, without damaging relationships. Impulse control is a necessary virtue in all levels of leadership. An impulsive comment can poison a workplace environment, creating a climate of fear and recklessness. Remember, you can take back a thought; it is increasingly more difficult to take back a comment. Make sure your feedback is rooted in facts. If you are not sure, ask the recipient of the feedback for clarity. Self-control is informed by prudence and humility. Moreover, it takes bravery to confront truthfully, yet tactfully. 

A method I use in my course on counseling is called the sandwich method. This method has been proposed to leaders who have difficulty sharing critical feedback, evaluations, or making requests. The method consists of three steps: critical feedback or a request is positioned between two affirming comments. In giving critical feedback, the leader giving the feedback uses “I” statements, not accusatory “you” statements. Dr. Judith Orloff, M.D. explains the benefits of using this method here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/the-empaths-survival-guide/201807/how-the-sandwich-technique-can-transform-your-relationships


Finally, a virtuous leader is just. Justice, writes Alexandre Havard, author of Virtuous Leadership, is the habit of “giving others their due.” The just leader, says Aristotle, promotes that which is lawful and fair. Giving someone his due can mean praise/ reward or discipline. If an act of mercy, meaning the act of extending graciousness or a second chance whether someone is worthy of it or not, does not change someone for the better, a correction is in order. A just leader knows how to manage the tension between justice and mercy. Possessing self-knowledge and prudence, he is able to read character, knowing when someone is exploiting his good nature or is ready to learn from their mistakes. A wise leader has nurtured his intuition and has acquired knowledge of the human condition. 

In conclusion, Aristotle claims, “no one who is to become good will become good unless he does good things,” (Book II). Happiness, he says, is the result of virtuous living. After much practice, a virtuous leader makes the transition from virtue signaling to virtue living. 

Coincidence or a Sign from God?

Josephine Lombardi (c) 2021

How does one explain synchronicity and coincidence in spiritual terms? From time to time, we are excited to share various experiences, noting how they touched us and got our attention because the timing was in sync with an anniversary, a feeling, or a search for answers. These special moments can mean, among other things, one of two possibilities. One the one hand, they can represent confirmation of what we are doing and thinking. Doing God’s will means doing the right thing at the right time and in the right way. Receiving or experiencing some type of sign or serendipitous moment could be confirmation that our behaviour is in harmony with God’s divine laws. This leaves us open to noticing small and big signs, indicating certain moments were designed and planned specifically for us. Author, Squire Rushnell, speaks of these moments in his book, When God Winks.

On the other hand, these moments can be attention grabbers, meaning God is trying to get our attention. Prayer connects us, helping us to participate in God’s omnipresence, one of God’s divine attributes. Our prayers or the prayers of others for us, like those of a caring parent or another loved one, including the saints, can inspire a sign, special moment or warning through which God can get our attention. God is asking us to be awake and aware, praying for the spiritual sight needed to notice His communication with us. Pray for the grace to pay attention!

Blog post found at http://www.josephinelombardi.com

In the News: The B.C. Catholic

Reposting an article from B.C. Catholic.

New member’s expectations shattered after attending first convention
By Winetta Lee
Friday, 18 September 2015


As a young adult at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, I have been asked many times to join the Catholic Women’s League. To be honest, every time I was asked, I refused because I did not feel connected to the group.

I had an impression the CWL baked cookies and cakes and managed the annual craft fair, two things that I’m not very interested in. However, all of this changed after attending just one CWL convention.

My co-worker, Megan Siy (the youngest CWL member I know), had asked if I would be able to volunteer for the national convention taking place at the Hyatt Hotel. Having a soft spot for event planning, I automatically said, “yes!” to volunteering.

Not long after that, I discovered there was a catch: I had to be a member of the CWL to volunteer! A member?
I love the excitement of helping out at major events, but I really did not want to become a member, let alone to be active at the parish level.

My best friend suggested I first ask my director at work if I could even take time off to volunteer at this conference, and if he said yes, then I should decide accordingly. I asked, and, what do you know? Time off was not an issue!

Moreover, my director convinced me that CWL ladies do a lot of work behind the scenes, besides baking cookies and making coffee. Next thing I knew I was speaking to the president of the council at my parish, asking if I could become a member. I attended the convention as an opportunity to learn more about the CWL and to get a broader perspective on the league.

Dr. Josephine Lombardi

Dr. Josephine Lombardi – presenter

The morning session opened after Mass. There was a keynote address by Dr. Josephine Lombardi, speaking on the theme, “One Heart, One Voice, One Mission.” What really struck me about her talk was her ability to speak to my “heart” as a woman. I felt empowered, and it’s not very often that I get to attend an event targeting females.

“It takes great courage to know ourselves,” Lombardi said. “We have to examine every day what is needed of us in that moment.”

“A good leader is a leader who has order in his/her own life,” she said. “Don’t be surprised that you can become a better version of yourself, after the pain.”

Her words hit home for me, and for the first time, I felt proud to be a woman. It sounds strange, but it’s something that I either take for granted or am burdened by when faced with the problems affecting women today.

I thought the talks were enough to get me hooked, but the sessions on resolutions caught me by surprise. Suddenly the whole hall came alive as the business sessions were called to order. I heard women from several provinces speak their minds, and I was impressed.

The questions they asked, the concerns they raised; these were voices to be reckoned with! I discovered that the CWL works closely with the community, actively voicing opinions on issues, reflecting Christian values.

I was drawn to the league. My admiration for these women grew each day as I saw them in action, and I felt my heart yearning for female mentoring. I had never realized that the fellowship and mentoring of the Catholic Women’s League is what a young lady like myself is yearning for.

Certainly there is no lack of female role models in the league. These ladies take these issues to heart and aggressively work to meet their goals.

Not only do they work hard, they also know how to lighten up and have fun! At the end of Dr. Josephine’s address the ladies started a conga line around the room.

Being at the convention was really humbling for me. Now I see these CWL ladies in a different light. I look forward to being a voice among the 90,000-strong CWL across Canada with One Heart, One Voice, One Mission.

Lee is the administrative assistant of the communications office at the Archdiocese of Vancouver.

Source: http://www.bccatholic.ca/opinion-and-editorial/5530-cwl-offers-much-more-than-just-bake-sales-and-fairs

The New Evangelization – Dr. Josephine Lombardi interviews Fr. Thomas Lim

Radio Teopoli, CIAO AM530’s “The New Evangelization” hosted by Dr. Josephine Lombardi, Ph.D. Join her as she interviews Fr. Thomas Lim, part-time Associate Pastor at Blessed Sacrament Church and also involved in the Marriage Tribunal at the Archdiocese of Toronto. Fr. Thomas will share his vocation story with us and story of faith on how he experienced his call to the priesthood and some of the work he does with the Marriage Tribunal in the Archdiocese.


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Disciples of All Nations: A Practical Guide to the New Evangelization

Leading scholar, author and workshop presenter Dr. Josephine Lombardi leads us through an engaging exploration of the development and purpose of the New Evangelization. Identifying the meaning of the expression New Evangelization, she examines the enormous breadth of papal and Church teaching on the subject since the Second Vatican Council. Lombardi’s approachable overview helps us engage the Church’s theology with a tangible application of the New Evangelization today.

Deeply rooted in Scripture, the Tradition of the Church, and current with the teachings of recent popes, Lombardi’s guide is a much-needed resource for those charged with the mandate to bring about the New Evangelization. Priests, teachers and lay Catholics will all find this book a must-have for their ministry.

To help you and your community discuss Josephine’s book on the New Evangelization, check out the online study guide.

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Click image to purchase the book.