As a co-founder of Catholic Stewardship Consultants — an organization committed to developing Disciples of Christ through the practice of stewardship at parishes across the United States — Lisa McArdle has been having conversations on the topic of stewardship with people all over the country for close to 25 years. Not long ago, however, she was so inspired by one of these conversations that she created an entirely new retreat experience.
“I was speaking with a gentleman a few years ago and he apologized because he felt he hadn’t been a good steward in the parish,” Lisa says. “He had been the primary caretaker for his father, and told me that his father had just passed and now he hoped to be a better steward in the parish. My heart just broke, because what he didn’t understand was that he had been living as a steward in the best way he could by taking care of his family.”
Following that conversation, Lisa knew she had a mission — helping people understand that we are all called to holiness, and that this call most often begins right in our own homes. With this in mind, Lisa has begun leading retreats on the theme of “Stewardship in the Family.”
On Saturday, Feb. 24, Lisa will conduct this retreat at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Castle Rock, and all Pax Christi parishioners are invited to attend. The retreat will begin at 8 a.m. and will wrap up at 2 p.m.
In contrast to many other spiritual experiences, the “Stewardship in the Family” retreat is directed by lay people. As a mother of five daughters ranging in age from 12 to 27 — and now a “Mimi” to three grandchildren — Lisa has experienced firsthand both the challenges and rewards of family life. Her talks at the retreat will highlight the spiritual transformation that takes place when we make stewardship central to our family life.
“We’re all called to live as stewards,” Lisa says. “It’s not just for saints or pastors or Pope Francis. Stewardship doesn’t just begin and end in our parish families either — it really begins at home in our domestic churches. Ultimately, that is where it is taught and resonates the most.”
The retreat will include talks, personal reflection, small-group discussion, and time for fellowship. As a busy mother, Lisa knows that it is not always easy to carve out the time for a retreat. Often, however, that is the very reason we should make the effort to do so!
“Families are so busy that we don’t know how to stop,” she says. “Learning to be still and finding out what God is calling us to is so important, and to be centered in our faith is now more essential than ever. A priest once told me that we were created as human beings, not ‘human doings,’ and yet we’re so busy doing that we never stop to reflect. It’s really a gift to stop and make sure we’re on the path where God wants us.”
Lisa hopes that parishioners attending this retreat will return home with a renewed sense of their mission in this world — a mission that does not begin and end in our parish, but instead informs the way we live our lives, every day and everywhere.
“I encourage people to look at how they spend time with their families and what decisions they are making as a family of stewards,” she says. “God has given us all talents. Whether you are washing dishes, changing a diaper, cheering for your son at baseball games, caring for a parent — all of these things are important.”
All parishioners and visitors — from young parents to empty nesters to singles — are welcome to come experience together the spiritual growth that this retreat promises. A closer walk as disciples of Christ awaits you!
“I think that learning more about discipleship will transform hearts and transform lives,” Lisa says. “In turn, strengthening families will strengthen our parishes. I think of the words of St. Teresa of Calcutta — ‘If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.’ It sounds so simple, but it’s so profound. If we all did that, it would have a ripple effect and the world would be so much better.”
All Pax Christi parishioners are invited to attend the Stewardship in the Family retreat on Saturday, Feb. 24 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The retreat will be held at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, located at 2746 Fifth St. in Castle Rock. Please Click Here to RSVP and sign up to attend the retreat.