There are so many apps, and just as many podcasts, that try to grab our attention with messages regarding the scripture readings for the day that it can be overwhelming. Notable bishops with huge followings, authors and scholars all weigh in with different styles and interpretations of the Word. One woman, however, has captured my attention. She is not a religious, a scholar or a celebrity. She is Lisa Nollette, Adult Faith Formation director for Our Lady Queen of Angels Parish in Newport Beach. And she has my ear.
Each morning, as I lay in bed waking to the day, I do what most of us do. I grab my phone from the nightstand to check for texts from family, to check the weather forecast and then to listen to Nollette’s one- to two-minute morning email message that can set my course for the day. In her audio message, her calming voice and her conversational delivery are what make her daily messages so accessible. There is no music, no over-produced preamble and no pitch to sign up for more. It’s as if I am talking with a good friend who is helping me focus on what is most important each day.
I contacted Nollette to learn more about her.
“I am the director of Adult Faith Formation and I have been at the parish for 7 years,” Nollette said. “I facilitate programs and activities in faith formation and sacrament preparation for adults. I like to think of my role as a companion and a fellow traveler in the journey of faith.”
As with most things last year, when COVID arrived everything changed. Nollette had to adapt, but still make an impact.
“When everything shut down at the beginning of the pandemic, we wanted to reach out and find a way to support our parish community,” she said. “I think some of the first reflections were simple ways to let folks know that we were still here and they were not alone and to provide some words of encouragement.”
But the pursuit can be a lonely one.
“Some days I feel like I was talking to myself and trying to encourage myself,” she said. “The scriptures were full of grace and wisdom during those early days. I would also try to find a quote that helped me and pass that on to others.”
Nollette prepares herself before producing her audio recordings, which are sent via email or available on the Our Lady Queen of Angels website at olqa.org. She begins by praying for everyone who will receive her email, she says, and then for God to guide her writing so that her words console, support or inspire the recipient.
Nollette said, “I say what I need to hear or what I wish someone would say to me.”
She posted her first reflection on St. Joseph’s Day, March 19, 2020. Over more than a year her following has grown to well over 1,000.
“Many people outside the parish receive the daily email. People write to me and ask if I can send it to their friends and families all over the country. I know that many folks send it on to others,” she said. “Every time I think about quitting, someone will stop me after Mass or send me an email thanking me for saying just what they needed to hear that day. That keeps me going.”
To sign up for Lisa Nollette’s daily reflections visit: https://www.olqa.org/today