Good food plays a role in many of life’s most important events. It helps bring people together, facilitates conversation, and makes it easier to build community. Lisa Satory used this premise to invite some Catholic friends to join her for dinner and a rosary one Sunday night eight years ago and started a tradition – one that other families can reproduce in their own communities.
“I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and was a cradle Catholic,” Lisa recalls. “The faith was important to our family. I went to Catholic school through college. In fact, my husband, David, and I met in the seventh grade at St. Michael Middle School in Cleveland,” she adds.
For Lisa, Sunday was family day. Her mom was one of six kids and everyone went to grandma’s house on Sunday for a big dinner and to spend time together. It was a weekly extended-family combination of food, fun, prayer, and being together. For Lisa, that family dinner was a typical life event. And in Cleveland, it continues to this day.
In 2002, when the Satory family moved away from their hometown to Cumming, an Atlanta suburb, they realized they wanted to recreate this same close-knit, Catholic family experience. She birthed the idea of hosting dinner and a rosary to meet the need she and her husband David had to create an extended Catholic family support system within their greater church home of St. Brendan. She understood a good meal can build friendship, deepen connections, perhaps whet the appetite for great knowledge of the faith, and create a true sense of family.
“I love to pray the Rosary and I love to entertain,” Lisa says. “Community is important, so given what I love to do, David and I decided to open our home once a month for dinner and the praying of the Rosary,” she says. Before the rosary begins, Lisa opens the floor to any special prayer requests whether personal or global. Extra rosaries are always on hand and one finds it’s the kids who often jump in to lead the prayers.
The format is simple, but certainly involves a good deal of work. Lisa prepares the main dinner dishes, which often include southern favorites such as barbequed pulled pork, corn, and mac-and-cheese. Guests bring side dishes and desserts to share.
Things get underway around 6:30 pm. The group starts with dinner, followed by the Rosary, and tops off the evening with dessert. The “formal” festivities usually conclude by 8:30 pm although some guests occasionally linger over a glass of wine. The monthly gathering includes entire families, both young and old, and typically draws 40-50 people.
Lisa and David have four children, two sons in college and two daughters in their teens still at home. But the dinner and Rosary events usually draw the boys home for the weekend. And all the kids say they want to continue the tradition when they have their own families.
Never one to shy away from a commitment, Lisa is an active Regnum Christi member who organizes and leads Holy Week Missions to serve the marginalized every year. “I was drawn to Regnum Christi because I’m a doer; I like to organize and coordinate,” Lisa says. Her four children and husband join her on these missions as do a host of other Catholic families. She discovered Regnum Christi when the family moved to Atlanta and found the Movement to be a great way to deepen her faith and be a more effective missionary. “Regnum Christi has helped me to be better at whatever I do for the Church,” Lisa says. And for Lisa, who has the energy and passion of someone fresh out of college, there is always room for more evangelization.
For instance, she publishes “Parish Neighbors of Cumming,” through Decided Excellence Media.The monthly print magazine is distributed throughout the Cumming area and includes Catholic articles, readings, information about the local parishes, and a lead article featuring a local Catholic family. “Like the Holy Week Missions, the magazine is an effort to reach out to people in the community and either bring them back to Church or, in some cases, introduce them to the Catholic faith,” Lisa explains.
If you are starting to think Lisa has superpowers, you may be right. But she will be the first to tell you it’s not her, it’s the Holy Spirit alive in her heart that fuels all her apostolic endeavors. She recently took on a full-time sales job with Sadlier selling Catholic educational books to schools in the Southeast region. She accomplishes all this on top of being a wife and mother. At a recent rosary dinner, she was asked how she manages to keep all these balls in the air. Without hesitation, she said, “Passion.” She hopes to create that same passion in others who will carry the torch and build a kingdom of disciplines on earth.