I just realized that, as a Catholic blogger, I’ve never shared my conversion story.
I love hearing others’ stories about how they discovered the joy that that can only be found in the Church; how they found that, in Jesus’ flock, there is a cloud of witnesses—so many Saintly brothers and sisters looking out for us that we are never truly alone!
It was the year that St. Pope John Paul II died, and it was my dear mother who made everything happen.
I remember that he was giving his Easter blessing that night—trying, as he could no longer speak without difficulty—and my mom knew that his time on this earth was almost at an end.
She went to the bedroom and woke up my brother and I; she turned on the television so that we, too, could see him for the last time.
I still thank my mother, to this day, for making sure I had that last holy glimpse of him. The next time I saw him was after he had died, during his funeral.
Soon after this, Mom decided that my brother and I, who had not been baptized in any church yet (because half of our family are LDS, we were to be given the chance to choose for ourselves) needed to be part of a faith. She asked us to pray about it and decide what we wanted to be.
I didn’t have much to think about, really; I remembered feeling protected when my grandmother on my mom’s side would visit with her little saint statues.
These were visual reminders that there was something else. I wanted to know what that other thing was.
We went to church for the first time in our lives. I remember being awed by how big the church was, not just the building, but the sense of joy and unity within.
Not long after that, my brother and I were baptized. We received our First Holy Communion. We were home.
After my baptism, I entered a frenzy of wanting to learn more about the Church, the saints, the sacraments, history, and devotions. Perhaps I tried to get into theology too early, as I burned myself out on all of the things to know, and lost interest as a teenager. Recently, though, I have grown interested again. There is so much to know!
In rough times, when I have thought the Church perhaps too demanding or judged myself as wanting in the Communion of Saints, I’ve felt myself comforted by Mother Mary and the Saints—particularly St. Thérèse and my patron saints, Rose of Lima and Catherine of Siena. I think that St. John Paul II has also been watching over me; after all, he is the first “saint” I knew of before I was baptized, and I did see him alive.
I’m in love with the Church and all it has kept for us over the centuries. I acknowledge that there have been bad Popes, that the human aspect of the Church has led to decisions that were not Christlike. This does not change my love for her.
Until we are all in Heaven, we will all make mistakes.
What’s your story?