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El Dorado gift shop inspires faith for Anita Lockwood

Published: August 10, 2017   
Brenda Clark
Holy Redeemer’s Anita Lockwood (left) works alongside parish secretary Judi Ostergaard in the El Dorado church’s gift shop. 

Why you want to know Anita Marie Lockwood: Anita helped start Holy Redeemer’s Gift Shop a few years ago and is quick to make sure that anyone asking knows that “the gift shop is a group effort with a lot of people helping.” She is also in her second term as treasurer of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas state board and is active with the church’s candle ministry.

Parish: Holy Redeemer Church

City: El Dorado

Age: 61

Family: Husband of 41 years, A.J. “Buddy” Lockwood; two sons, Mark and Michael

Occupation: Retired speech pathologist


Arkansas Catholic’s theme this year is “The Truth will set you free.” What is your favorite Bible verse and why?

“I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.” (Philippians 4:13) It is my favorite verse because my grandfather carried the verse on the back of one of his business cards in his wallet. I never knew my grandfather as he passed away before I was born. My mother gave me his card for me to keep as a young girl. The card helped me to know my grandfather and always helped me with my spiritual growth.

How did the gift shop begin?

When Father Eddie D’Almeida was first here, that is how I got into the gift shop. He came to Judi (Ostergaard) as regent of Catholic Daughters and it was just a matter of me being here and saying, “Sure I’ll help.”

Judi and Al (Ostergaard) are very instrumental in helping because at first we did it at the (St. Agnes) thrift store. When we first started doing it down there we were hoping it would be a way to show our faith and people could come in and see Catholic things. We had lots of people coming in, but we weren’t getting a lot of our Catholic population down there. We weren’t open on Sunday and we weren’t really getting our target audience as far as the gift shop was concerned. That’s how, with Father’s influence, we moved it up here (to the church office).

It is open during church office hours and after Mass on Sundays. It is strictly run by volunteers that stay after Mass. My role with the gift shop is primarily ordering things, special requests or just keeping it stocked with things people have mentioned they would like to see and trying to help Judi maintain the inventory.

Parishioners can make special requests and we fulfill those, or things Father Eddie recommends. We are not putting just anything in there; it is always with his approval.

How has volunteering for the gift shop helped you spiritually?

It has helped me to increase my knowledge of the saints because we get requests, or people try to describe a saint; and then I am going on this web search just based on descriptions of things they have associated in their family life, early life and I’m like, “Well, I’ve never heard of this saint, let me see.”

Getting to know artifacts of the Church and Church history through parishioner’s requests has been an interesting journey with the gift shop.

I was just reading the other day about our visual reminders that we have in the church. This came from The Guardian that was published in April 1939. I was just reading that article, the importance of our visual reminders in helping us to think about our faith, think about our connection with our Church. It was just very influential to me.

What are your hobbies?

Reading, needlework, family and Catholic Daughters of the Americas activities.

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