FAMILY MATTERS WORKSHOPS
Seminars and Talks to help couples and families foster their
Your family IS your job!
Looking for a way to
strengthen marriages and families in your church or community?
In Family Matters Workshops couples and families learn
values and spirituality
a more satisfying lifestyle
Although workshops are
available on a variety of family themes and tailored to your
group’s particular need, following are some of the most
popular ones. Length ranges from one hour to a full weekend.
Workshops include input, interaction, private/couple/family
time, and a good dose of fun. Participants not only learn
from the leader but also from each other.
For religious groups,
content will integrate this dimension throughout the workshop.
For secular groups, content will focus on more inclusive values
that are common to all.
To check upcoming workshop
locations and dates click here.
Groups may want to schedule additional workshops while I'm
in your area.
discuss workshop possibilities contact:
523 E. Southern Ave.
Covington, KY 41015
Phone: (859) 291-6197 - Fax: (859) 291-4742
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org -
Marriage workshops are often done by Susan with
her husband, Jim, and are designed for couples to attend together.
the right partner for me?
– Is This
the Right Life Partner for Me?
Deciding to marry is an awesome life choice. Programs and couple
coaching are available to help engaged couples explore all dimensions
of their relationship to confirm their decision to marry. Inventories
such as the Myers/Briggs and FOCCUS are used to guide discussion.
Marriage preparation can be done either with groups of couples
for a church or with an individual couple. Susan and Jim have
been doing marriage preparation with couples for over 30 years.
Recapturing Romance in Marriage
– Where Have All the Flowers Gone? The commitment might still be
there but the zest might be fading. Great for World Marriage
Day (Feb. 14). This talk helps married couples renew their love
for each other while learning:
1. Three steps to keeping their love alive
2. Two communication tools to enhance couple bonding
3. One strategy for forgiveness
don't have to go to the Eternal City
to recapture romance; but it's nice.
Trevi Fountain - Rome
• Becoming Soul-Mates – Nurturing
Learn the seven traits of a Christian marriage and how you may already
be intuitively using many of them. This workshop helps couples see
the sacred in much of their ordinary life plus explores different
styles of prayer and spirituality in marriage.
• The Importance of Being Right
– Personality Differences in Marriage
Often you ARE right. More often, it doesn’t matter. Through use of
the Myers/Briggs and other personality inventories couples come to
understand why their spouses do things the way they do and why it
might be right for them. Participants have nick-named this workshop,
“Save Seven Years of Arguments”.
• Beyond Talking
Skills in Marriage
Using interactive techniques, this
workshop deals with the sub-topics of non-verbal communication,
listening, sharing feelings, fighting fair, and affirmation. These
are the basics of healthy and insightful communication between
any two people, but especially married couples.
• Humor & Marriage – Nurturing
the Lighter Side of Your Marriage
Marriage is work but some of the work can be fun. Humor adds to our
“marriage emotional bank account.” It allows us to tolerate
offenses that otherwise irritate us. We become willing to overlook
minor annoyances because the overall fun and positive experiences
we’ve had together outweigh the problems. Learn five ways to
nurture humor in you marriage and one way that humor hurts.
•Preparing Couples for Marriage across the USA – What’s
Changing, What’s the Same? The culture is changing
but marriage in the Catholic Church is still a permanent commitment.
Susan Vogt has just completed a compilation of marriage policies from
across the USA for the USCCB. Learn what the best practices are and
where to go for specialized help with thorny issues like cohabitation,
mixed faith marriages, ethnic considerations, and liturgical practices.
Parenting Workshops can be for parents
alone or for whole families.
together or you'll pull apart.
Graceful Parenting: Values for Parents & Children
Based on Raising Kids Who Will Make a Difference, this
workshop addresses how families deal with issues of Integrity, Busyness,
Materialism, Ecology, Media, Sexuality, Fighting, Global Awareness,
Diversity, Service, and Faith. Learn 10 Take Home Nuggets to simplify
and enhance your parenting with children from 1 to 18. It will be
interactive and practical with enough inspiration to remind you
why you so wanted to be a parent.
• The Media: Love It Or Hate It
– Technology Tips for Families
This workshop ranges from giving "techno-peasants" the basics
for healthy use of the internet and cell phones, to supporting modern
parents as they discern reasonable limits to their children's hunger
for more tech time. This workshop can also be geared to pastoral ministers
who want to use social media, websites, and email blasts to further
• Just Family Nights –
Tips & Topics for Family Nights
Learn the basics of having a successful family night ranging from having
everyone at least stay home on a given night to using it as an opportunity
to explore family values and faith. Photos are nice but common experiences
make memories that families can carry with them throughout life.
• Families Creating Circles of Peace
– Using the Family Pledge of Nonviolence
Learn “How to Start an Argument” and also how to end it.
Explore the Family Pledge of Nonviolence and how it could help your
family work out problems more peacefully. Find out the “4 C’s”
of resolving family disputes. Learn another language in five minutes
and become a multicolored person, a “Rainbow People”.
Run: Taming Time
Family, Work, and Life
Through the use of case studies, participants get a chance to give
advice to other families on how to catch up and simplify their lives.
Of course, you can take the free advice home and apply it to your
own family if you dare. The bottom line is:
Your Family Is Your Job.
your family on a bullet train?
• Buy, Buy: Curbing Consumerism
– What’s Important, What’s Not, What’s Left
Most families want to simplify their lives – for the sake of sanity,
the environment, and justice to the rest of the world. Most families
wonder if they’re doing enough or how to do better. This workshop
doesn’t pretend to save the world but it will give you some practical
next steps to take – one at a time.
• Who’s the
– The Use and Abuse of Family Meetings
Family meetings can be a wonderful tool to make decisions that everyone
can live with. BUT, there are traps. Learn three ways that they
are often sabotaged and how to remedy it.
Beyond Words: Teaching Faith and Values to Families through Symbol and
Ever wonder what a hammer, a grocery bag, and a TV remote can teach
about Christian values? Learn how to
1. Dispense 1-A-Day verbal vitamins
2. Influence children by “talking behind their back”
3. Let your walls, CD player, and oven speak
Based on the values covered in Raising Kids Who Will Make a Difference,
this workshop will help parents and educators deal with the issues of
self-esteem, time, materialism, ecology, the media, morality, peacemaking,
diversity, and service as dimensions of a living faith.
•Peacemaking Strategies for the Home and Classroom
how to start an argument and how to end it.
Use the Pledge of Nonviolence to change the culture of your school,
class, or family. Learn how to stop nagging by “running a
race” and to cure gripes by taking plenty of vitamins B and
C. It’s not magic; it just takes planning, know how, and courageous
parents and educators.
family/school can be a DMZ
•Keeping a Holy Home Without Losing your Cool or Embarrassing
1. What can a box of band aids, a tent stake, and a whoopee
cushion teach about the sacred in the ordinary life of a busy family?
2. When does a church not look like a church?
3. How can you build a family altar without using wood or nails?
Learn the joys and pitfalls of having family nights and family meetings
while building your domestic church.
• After They Leave Home –
Parenting Our Young Adults in Life and Faith
You tried your darndest to raise your children to be moral, successful,
and faithfilled men and women, BUT sometimes you wonder if you did enough.
They may no longer be going to church. They may be having difficulty
finding a mate or keeping a marriage or job together. How can you help?
When do you need to leave them alone? How can you best support them
in their new stage of life? This workshop will draw upon the research
and insights from Parenting Your Adult Child: Keeping the Faith
(And Your Sanity). Click
here to read a St. Anthony Messenger article which summarizes the
• Living Lightly–
Uncluttering your home and life (inside and out)
– It may be
that you look around your home and realize that you have more material
stuff than you actually need.
– Or maybe your
To Do List is out of control and you need to clear some time
in your life to be more present to those you love.
– Maybe it’s
technology that has taken possession of your time and attention.
– You may be
carrying burdens of worry, guilt, or anger.
– Perhaps your
burdens are altruistic like wanting to further world peace, a more sustainable
environment, or reducing poverty and injustice.
– Perhaps some
days it just feels so overwhelming and impossible for one person, or
even a group of committed people, to make a difference.
In this workshop I offer ways to lighten
up. Based on my book, Blessed By Less: Clearing Your life of Clutter
by Living Lightly (Loyola Press, 2013) I share what a year of giving
stuff away taught me about life, relationships, and what’s really
important. Packed with practical tips and spiritual wisdom, you’ll
learn how to:
1. Consume Less – so you can save more
2. Hang on to Less – so you can become more
3. Let go of Burdens & Intangibles – so you
can feel Freer
4. Waste Less – so you can save more
Energy (your own and the planet’s)
5. Hurry & Worry Less – so you can Laugh
6. Let go of Cheap Faith – so you can become
more Spiritually grounded
another's shoes today.
Seeking God in Everyday Family Life
in Today’s World with Yesterday’s Values
Going to church is good. Saying prayers is good. But sometimes families
miss God’s presence in the ordinary tasks and conversations
throughout the day. Explore the values that undergird your family
and how to be gospel people in the midst of a changing world.
• Seeking God in Special
Seasons & Times
Take a fresh look at Advent/Christmas, Lent/Easter, Birth, Marriage,
Death and other Transitions. These are times when God breaks into our
lives in unique ways. Make Christmas more than about gifts, Lent more
than about suffering and special days more meaningful.
• Beyond Church on Sunday
– Family Prayer and Spirituality
Make traditional prayer forms like grace before meals and bedtime prayers
come alive. Memorized prayers may be the beginning but not the end of
your family’s spirituality. Deepen your family’s awareness
of the presence of God in the ordinary days of your life.
• The Use and Abuse of Power
– How leaders can lead without dominating
Sometimes leaders need to be bold and to take a group where they would
rather not go. For example, civil rights leaders called us all to equality
before our society and even our churchers were ready to accept it. More
often, however, good leadership is done from behind and involves mega
doses of listening and empowering others. Leaders grounded in a healthy
spirituality know how to persuade and inspire rather than dictate and
rule. Authentic power comes from the assent of those willing to follow
a compelling vision put forth by a person who embodies it.
Awakening The Dreamer
This half day symposium, sponsored by The
helps participants further a human presence on this earth which
– Environmentally Sustainable
– Socially Just
– Spiritually Fulfilling
I have been trained by Pachamama to facilitate
these stimulating multi-
is not just about refraining from a fist fight or shooting someone.
Respecting differences of opinion
– Finding effective ways to communicate even
when we disagree
– Finding the best words to talk about sensitive
– Being honest but not confrontational
– Standing up for your values, not just blowing
Resolving both interpersonal disagreements and conflicts between groups
draws from the insights of active listening and Marshal Rosenberg's
work on Nonviolent
Getting Along with Difficult People
And Sometimes I May Be the Difficult One
This workshop is based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
and other personality inventories. It’s geared to helping
participants know themselves better and understand that many
conflicts between people are not a matter of one being right
and the other being wrong, but rather reflect the differences
in human personalities.
Keeping the Minister’s Family Sane and Holy – What
does it profit religious educators, family ministers, or youth ministers
to gain the adulation of all the families in their care but lose their
own family? This workshop deals with strategies to keep a balanced life
in service of the Lord so we can live to serve again.
•Preparing Couples for Marriage across the USA – What’s
Changing, What’s the Same? The culture is changing but
marriage in the Catholic Church is still a permanent commitment. Susan
Vogt has just completed a compilation of marriage policies from across
the USA for the USCCB. Learn what the best practices are and where to
go for specialized help with thorny issues like cohabitation, mixed
faith marriages, ethnic considerations, and liturgical practices.
• Ministry With a Family Perspective
– Family Systems Applied to
Based on the work of Rabbi Ed Friedman, the insights of family system
theory can help ministers in their own families and with the families
they serve. Includes sessions on family spirituality, the dynamics of
change, the family life cycle, use of the genogram, sculpting, and partnering
for effective ministry. Developed by the National Association of Catholic
Family Life Ministers.
• Open Space Technology
- Moving Groups Beyond Boredom
This is a process for energizing groups developed by Harrison Owen.
If you're tired of wasting time at meetings and find that the most stimulating
conversation happens during the coffee breaks at conferences rather
than in the lectures, this may be for your group. Learn how the Law
of Two Feet allows "Bumblebees" and "Butterflies" to make the best use
of their talents and their time.
• Appreciative Inquiry
- When Groups
Are in a Downward Spiral
Traditionally organizations have tended to solve problems by focusing
on the problem and trying to fix it. When a group focuses only on
what is wrong, however, it can start a downward spiral which overlooks
the strengths of the organization. The goal of Appreciative Inquiry
is to search for the best practices that already exist, amplify
what is working and focus on life-giving forces. This not only boosts
morale but gives energy to build on the group's strengths.
Susan has been married for over
30 years to Jim Vogt. They live in Covington, Kentucky and have four
young adult children.
Susan has worked in family life education
and been a consultant with the Parenting for Peace and Justice Network
for over 30 years. Her work has included designing and leading marriage
preparation, marriage enrichment, parenting, and leadership programs.
She has also worked as a family counselor and has taught high school
and college marriage courses. Currently Susan is a freelance speaker,
author, and relationship coach in the areas of marriage, parenting,
and spirituality. She is editor of the Journal of the National Association
of Catholic Family Life Ministers (NACFLM).
•MA in counseling Western Michigan
•Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) by National Conference
of Family Relations
•Certified Couples Communication leader by Interpersonal Communication
•Certified Association of Couples in Marriage Enrichment (ACME)
•Trained Myers-Briggs presenter
RECOGNIZED AUTHOR •Raising Kids Who Will Make a Difference
•Kids Creating Circles of Peace, co-author
•Just Family Nights, author and editor
•Helping Teens Care (and Parents Survive), co-author
(with Jim) of summary chapter
•Shorter articles can be found on this website
ENGAGING SPEAKER Susan has spoken to groups across the U.S.A. as well as in
Japan, Kenya, Korea, India, the Philippines, and Guam.
ACKNOWLEDGED FAMILY AND MINISTRY
•Advisor to the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Marriage and
•National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers (NACFLM)
Board member and Secretary (1991-95)
•NACFLM national leadership award (1996) shared with husband,
•Leadership team for the Marianist Lay Network of North America
(MLNNA) (2005 – present)
Although a committed Catholic, Susan is also committed to helping others
find and deepen their own spirituality wherever the Spirit may lead.
She is a vowed member of the Family of Mary, a lay branch of the Marianist
religious order. She has helped found two lay Christian communities
and is currently co-leader of Anawim, a Christian community in the Catholic
and Marianist tradition.
ABOUT JIM VOGT
Jim is national director of the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative.
Previously he was national administrator for the Parenting for Peace
and Justice Network. His career has spanned working as an urban planner
in Cincinnati to being a house husband. He has an MA in Urban Affairs
from the University of Wisconsin and is also certified by Couples Communication
and ACME in marriage enrichment. Jim is one of the authors of the Family
Pledge of Nonviolence. Jim is also a lifelong Catholic and a vowed lay
A PERSONAL NOTE
Our 15 years as Co-Directors of
the Family Ministry Office of the Diocese of Covington, KY gave
us experience in job sharing. We split one full time job between
us allowing one of us to be home with our children while they
were young. This gave us a foot in both worlds. We have founded
or led lay Christian communities in Cleveland, Kalamazoo, and
Cincinnati. We both currently work out of our home. Piecing together
our many professional and volunteer jobs has been fascinating
and fulfilling work. In our spare time we love to contradance
and visit our children who wander the world.
“Susan’s candor, enthusiasm
and expertise were insightful and affirming for all the families attending
our ‘Family Fun Night’. They’re still talking about
this excellent parenting program!”
–Butch & Linda Moses, Co-Presidents, National Association
of Catholic Family Life Ministers, Dallas, TX
"Listening to Susan is well worth your time. She blends family
with justice themes. No guilt, just the honest truth based on lots of
–Jim & Kathy McGinnis, Parenting for Peace and Justice, St.
“Susan inspired and encouraged our
mother’s group with wit and practical ideas we could use right
away. She has a way of gently wrapping parenting with faith. It’s
not forced, not artificial, just naturally there.”
–Caroline Weltzer, Burlington, KY
“Vogt writes with delightful blend
of wry humor, candor, and sensitive self revelation.”
–Joe Leonard, Family Ministries, National Council of Churches
"Susan addresses all the tough issues
parents face in raising kids. Drawing from Christian values she guides
parents in nurturing a social conscience in children with clarity, enthusiasm,
–Mary Jo Pedersen, Family Life Educator, Omaha, NE