The process of returning to faith after closing your heart and mind to the teachings of your youth is gradual and filled with doubt and fear. At the heart of it, there is the reason you walked away in the first place, and then, the feelings and beliefs you have held close in the interim years.
For Lisa Carter, this rings true. After her marriage ended, she felt that the Church and her faith had let her down. She was disillusioned and had no interest in returning to the Catholic faith in which she was raised.
“It was like there was a stamp on you if you divorced, so you feel like you’re not welcome in the Church. I was also disappointed in myself, and so I didn’t like any Church. I thought it was all misguiding.” But that all changed when she moved to Clayfield and heard the bells of St Agatha’s Catholic Parish ringing for Sunday Mass. “Something was pulling me back to faith… Maybe the Holy Spirit working in me, and guiding me to reconnect with God,” she said.
“When I started attending Mass in 2003, I was still telling myself I would only go ‘this once’ and giving myself permission to leave again if something didn’t sit well. I realise now that there was something missing. My life had not turned out the way I thought it might and I was questioning the meaning of it all.
It was through this journey back to faith, and in reconnecting with the Church, that Lisa first started thinking about the difference she can make in the lives of others who need the support and care of a Catholic community.
“Giving really is at the heart of our faith; so I believe that we must have the courage to examine honestly where our treasures lie,” Lisa said. Through the values embedded by a Catholic upbringing and education, Lisa feels that Jesus must be at the center of all we do as Christians, and this inspires her desire to give to those less fortunate, or in need.
“I started making a gift through the Annual Catholic Campaign but wanted to find a way to make a lasting impact, and support those who are unsupported. That is why I chose to leave a gift in my Will, so that we can carry on the work that we do today. I see it as an opportunity to respond to God’s grace in my life, and support the areas of our Church that are doing such necessary work,” said Lisa.
“I wanted to help members of our community in vulnerable circumstances as well as help our retired priests and seminarians so that our faith will be renewed for the next generation. I know there is no guarantees, but I have faith that God will put my gift to use where the need is greatest.