New bookstore blessing to community

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 2, 2001


PAULINA – St. James Religious Books and Gifts, a new bookstore in Paulina, opened its doors on April 5, and is celebrating its official grand opening May 3. “I always wanted to do this,” said the owner, Cheryl Louque,, “to have a religious bookstore. I always felt at peace when going into religious bookstores.” But the path to her dream has been a twisting one. “When my husband, Brien Louque, was laid off from his job as a shift mechanic – he had worked there for 19 years – he lost out on a lot of benefits,” she explained. “He worked a couple of jobs and felt depressed about the layoff and worried that he would never be in a position where he could ever retire.” Eventually, her husband found a job as a process technician with a fertilizer company, working 10-hour shifts four days a week. “My husband loves what he does now,” said Louque. “He had never wanted me to work. Our goal was for our children to have a good education, and he wanted me to be with our children, rather than go to work.” Beyond recognizing the importance of economic security, Louque found that a door had been opened. “I felt that I needed to bring the people to our Lord and Savior,” said Louque. “I prayed to God and the Blessed Mother Mary that if I was going to work I would be able to do His work. I also felt that this would bring my children closer to their faith. This bookstore has brought the family closer to God and the Church.” The bookstore offers a quiet, calm atmosphere, suitable for serious reflections. “Everyone who comes in here says that they feel at peace and that they hate to leave,” according to Louque. “They go away being at peace, and this is an answer to my prayers.” Louque’s burgeoning business plan has been accompanied by a deepening instruction in her family’s Catholic faith. “We both recently made our Cursillo,” she said. “That is a four-day walk with God.’ Before someone does a Cursillo they have to go to a special meeting, the Ultreya, which prepares a person for it.” “The Cursillo movement is a three-step process,” she added. First, there is the pre-Cursillo, involving a study of the environment of the Cursillo movement itself and also of the person studying it. Second, there is the Cursillo itself, the three-day walk with God.’ Finally, there is the fourth day, which affects how you are as a Christian for the rest of your life.” Louque explained that the purpose of the movement is to create groups of men and women who become evangelists and people who can live and work with other people. “It is fundamental to being a Christian,” she said. “Pope John Paul II really stands by it and encourages this method.” Both Louque and her husband have done the Cursillo. “I did it in September, the weekend of our blessed mother Mary’s birthday, which is September 9, and Brien did his on Thankgiving weekend,” she recounted. “That was a miracle, that he was able to do it, because he did not think that he could make it, due to his job.” “We prayed to the Blessed Mother and Jesus for him to make it, but not to take away his job in order for him to go,” Louque continued. “It was at this time that he was working on the four-day shift and it was for this reason he could make the Cursillo. And this is the miracle: getting to do it and still having his job.” Louque has also been involved in bringing a Fatima statue to the area. “Some people from Gonzales told Ronnie Lear, a friend of ours, that a Fatima could be given to St. James Parish, but we needed a leader. Ronnie was praying in church, and he is involved in other ministries, for example the prison ministry,” Louque said. “He could not take on any more ministries and so as he was praying he saw me across the aisle. He knew that I was the one to become the leader.” According to Louque, this was the 18th statue that has been donated in the United States. “We are fortunate to have one here in St. James Parish,” she said. “There are no rules to do when the Fatima is in a person’s home; however, we would like, though, that they say a rosary at least once a day,” Louque confided. “The Fatima has been to homes that were in need of the blessed mother, to bring blessings and comfort to people in times of troubles, and in times of joy where there have been answers to prayers.” “Many prayers,” she added, “have been answered by the welcoming of the blessed mother in their homes. Many have told me that when the blessed mother is in their homes for an entire week they experience peace within themselves and with others. Some cry when we have to depart from her presence.” People find aid and reach their goals by unexpected paths. “My number-one goal here at the bookstore,” Louque said, “is to evangelize and bring people closer to the Lord. And to survive in these uncertain economic times,” she added. “Knowing what people want, so we can supply their needs, that is always our priority. I thank the Lord for allowing me to do His work through the bookstore, and I pray that He keeps showing me the way,” Louque concluded.