Courtesy Shari Lloyd
Shari Lloyd worked in preschool at Sacred Heart School for eight years. She often gets invited to eighth-grade graduation by former students like Grace Johnson and Emily Awbrey.

Courtesy Shari Lloyd

Shari Lloyd worked in preschool at Sacred Heart School for eight years. She often gets invited to eighth-grade graduation by former students like Grace Johnson and Emily Awbrey.

MEDFORD —  Two years ago, Shari Lloyd’s heart stopped.

She toppled into the doorway of a Medford tavern and the bartender rushed out to help. At the hospital, some doctors would have thrown in the towel. Not Lloyd’s. Her physician endured and brought her back to life. 

If this were a Hollywood film, it would be the start of Lloyd’s faith. But Lloyd, 54, has been a motivated Catholic since girlhood. Her resuscitation only energized what she already believes — God is with us.  

Born to a Catholic father and Episcopalian mother in California, Lloyd was baptized but not brought to church except for first Communion and then confirmation. The classes tapped deep reserves of enthusiasm that began gushing. She read books, asked questions and prayed. At 17, she started driving herself to Mass.  

“I raised myself Catholic,” she says. 

She has remained Catholic because she values her church’s roots in the earliest Christian traditions.

“It’s where it all started,” she says. 

A Sacred Heart Parish pilgrimage to Europe confirmed her convictions. At St. Peter’s Basilica and at the various churches named after Mary, she recalled the story of those two saints and thought to herself — “This is what happens when you say yes.” 

Lloyd has a feeling that when she is guided by the Catholic Church, she is guided by Jesus.  

Seeking to pass along what has shaped her life, she teaches youths who are going through the process of becoming Catholic.  

Two of her own three children — in their 20s — have drifted from faith. It’s common, but stings a bit. She figures they’ll find their way.  

When people find out about her heart attack, they say, “Don’t you ever wonder, ‘Why me?’”

She may ask that, but not in the way people mean. She doesn’t blame God, but wonders what God wants of her now that he allowed her to live. 

“It was my faith that brought me through it,” she says. “If even one little thing happened differently, I would be dead. I have God with me. I know there is a reason and he is involved in it.”

She plans to continue teaching and hopes to make more Catholic pilgrimages. Those trips, where she goes 10,000 miles and has Mass in pretty much the same way as she does in Medford — that makes the world seem smaller and her Catholic faith all the more unifying and precious.  

“Why I’m Catholic” will be a monthly feature during 2017.