In 1992, my husband and I found ourselves recently married, new to Phoenix and searching for a place to start a spiritual life together. One of us a cautious child of the sixties, the other a cradle Catholic, utterly convinced of eternal damnation if he ever entered a different church. But after rounds to nearby parishes, we went back to the Yellow Pages and looked once again under "Churches – Catholic." There it was: Franciscan Renewal Center. It's not a church, he said nervously. Let's try it, I said.
I remember two things from that first Mass: the music and my husband's handkerchief–we both used it. From time to time, we noticed others dabbing their eyes too, and we began to feel part of something larger than ourselves. A year or so later, he signed up for Reconciliation classes and I signed up for RCIA. Reluctantly, I must add. But when you're called by God, resistance is useless, and in the end, RCIA was one of the most profound experiences of my life.
Today, I'm a member of the Casa's Board of Directors, working to grow the Casa's endowment so that it may continue to be a light for generations to come. In honor of the many relationships with the Friars and the larger community that continue to nourish us, it is a great joy for us to make this legacy gift.