The Rev. Lisa Flores Musser was born and raised in New Orleans, and although she grew up Episcopalian, she attended an all-girl Catholic High School.
She enjoyed church for as long as she can remember and eventually became an acolyte and active in a youth group. “I loved going to church,” she recalled. “I was not a popular kid, I had bad hair and big glasses and had not blossomed into a young woman until late in life. Church was a place where I was accepted and loved unconditionally.”
It was during her time at Catholic school that she emerged as a leader. At school she attended Friday mass, took four years of religion courses, joined the liturgy team, and even helped plan the mass. But because she wasn’t Catholic, she was not allowed to participate in Holy Eucharist until she sneaked it in just before graduating, and as it turns out, before the school closed permanently. “I thought, ‘this is the last mass ever for Mercy Academy. I’m receiving communion and I’m just doing it.’ I held my hands out and Father Maestri looked at me, winked, and handed me the bread.”
In college, Musser earned a degree in communications and focused on public relations jobs in sports management and in the restaurant industry. One day she took a priest friend to an Atlanta Braves game, where he mentioned to her that a church in Akron, Ohio needed a youth minister and that he had recommended people they both knew for the job. “I said, ‘they are great.’” Later that night when she was alone, she began to cry, “I knew I had to call about that job. This is my step to figuring out how to become a priest. I called the church at 11 p.m. and left a message.” She got the job and two years later started seminary. “It was the holy spirit working in ways I never thought imaginable.”
Musser, who is the Associate for Liturgy & Worship at Saint Michael, is married to David Musser, who recently graduated from Virginia Theological Seminary and is a completing a chaplaincy at Baylor Hospital. The couple has one son, Gabriel. The couple has a dog, Magnolia Jean, also known as Maggie.
The Mussers are both outdoor enthusiasts and even spent their honeymoon hiking, fly-fishing and whitewater rafting. The love of the outdoors is what brought them together when they both happened to be at the Kanuga Conference Center in North Carolina and were introduced by a mutual friend. Lisa, who has a long history at the camp and currently serves on its board, said she met her future husband during a 45-minute lunch. David took a photo of her and their friend, then used the photo as an excuse to get to know her on Facebook. “He was very sneaky, but that’s how it all started.” Future conversations revealed that he was also from New Orleans and that in their youth, they were at Kanuga at the same time but never crossed paths.
Lisa not only credits Kanuga for her match with David, but also says it has been a 25-year lifeline. She began going to the camp as a teenager, worked on staff when she was in college and after college helped coordinate events. She has also served as attending priest and is now on the board of trustees. “If I did not have Kanuga in my life, I don’t know if I would be here right now,” she said. “It kept me connected to my faith and the greater Church.”