Hello, My name is Chuck Walden. I am the owner of A Lost Sheep Catholic Store, located in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. I want to share some of my story.
I became Catholic because my beautiful wife, MaryAnne, told me the only way she was going to marry me was if I was Catholic. I decided then that I had to be Catholic. I didn’t understand what that really meant. When I grew up I went from church to church (although not the Catholic church) with my friends because we didn’t belong to any church or attend any Sunday services as a family.
I received all my sacraments on a Saturday afternoon at a parish in Bloomington, IL and I didn’t fully understand what had occurred. I knew I wanted to make MaryAnne happy so I went every Sunday to church and every holy day of obligation. Life was good (or so I thought), but I really didn’t have a relationship with Jesus. He was the fast food drive through employee I met every Sunday at mass for 1 hour.
When we had our first child, MaryAnne and I decided to move back to the east coast and join some activities to set a good example for our children. I joined the Knights of Columbus and MaryAnne joined the Women’s Society at our local parish in Pennsylvania. I did activities and helped others and I knew I was doing the Lord’s work but I still didn’t have a good relationship with Jesus.
We moved to Georgia for work and then things changed. I went on a retreat called “Christ Renews His Parish” in Marietta, GA and, afterwards, I had an urge to attend a silent retreat. I asked a deacon about retreats and he pointed me to a pamphlet at the church. I called the next morning and sure enough a retreat was starting the next day. I went and didn’t realize it was Divine Mercy weekend. During the retreat, I spent a lot of time outdoors. When I was meditating near the river, I noticed a tree branch not moving. It suddenly hit me – I was being a stick in the mud regarding my spiritual journey and I felt Jesus telling me to come and receive the living water. My life changed that day.
After we moved to Maryland in 2011, I felt something lacking. I slowly became involved in different ministries at our church. After driving around looking to buy some sacramental gifts, I realized there are no Catholic shops within a thirty mile radius of where we live, yet there are thirteen parishes as well as several Catholic schools. I felt the call from God in late 2014 to open a Catholic book and gift store.
During my “Christ Renews His Parish” ministry I had been called upon to do a witness talk. This was after my experience at my silent retreat. I reflected on my spiritual journey and I compared myself to the lost sheep in the bible that Jesus was looking for. This was why I decided on the name A Lost Sheep Catholic Store. We are all lost sheep. We are all calling to the Lord to be sought after.