Conversion stories
Behind every story, there are doubts, there are battles, there are oppositions, there is simplicity, there is heroism, there is grace.

Author: P. Fernando Pascual, L.C | Source:

In each conversion, something happens that deeply transforms a life. In different places, at different times, by simple or surprising paths, men and women have left a way of living far from God to begin believing in Christ and his Church.

If we look at the beginning of the Church, the Gospel itself narrates conversions like those of Matthew, Peter (after denying Christ), Zacchaeus, a Samaritan, an unknown thief at Calvary, and the famous Paul (from persecuting a passionate disciple).

Then the story is stained with thousands of concrete stories. Like that of Augustine of Hippo (354-430), which went from a life without brakes and its adhesion to the Arianism, until becoming one of the great Fathers of the Church. 

Or the conversion of Francis of Assisi (1181/2-1226), soldier and Minstrel, who one day left his worldly projects to follow Christ poor, humble, and fully confident in the Father's Providence.

Following the footsteps of Francis, and in an astonishing way, Raimundo (Ramon) Llull (1232-1315/6) turns from his life of infidelity to his wife as he looks at the image of Christ crucified, and becomes a passionate missionary among the Muslims.

Ignacio de Loyola (1491-1556), dreamer and adventurer, leaves his life of ambitions and love affairs thanks to the reading of stories of saints from other eras. If they could achieve holiness, why couldn't Ignatius? 

Blas (Blaise) Pascal (1623-1662) abandons his life of amusement and intellectual genius after a fulminant moment that he left written in a few pages (known as Memorial) he always carried with him as a reminder of that moment that filled him with joy.

Already closer to us, it surprises the conversion of Alfonso Maria of Regensburg (or Alphonse Marie Ratisbonne, 1812-1884), who is a church of Rome who received the unexpected apparition of the Virgin. The impact of this fact, he left his old lifestyle, was baptized, and years later became a Catholic priest.

Hermann Cohen (1820-1871), a prodigy and capricious child, a hardened player, gradually travels an inner path that takes him first to the Catholic faith, then to the vocation as Carmelita barefoot (takes the name of Augustine), and finally makes him a great promoter of night worship. 

Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916), rich, adventurous and full of enthusiasm for the good life, leaves all his past to live like a poor anyone and thus witness the wonder of the Catholic faith among the Muslims.

Adolfo Rette (1863-1930) was a great promoter of atheism with a lover who filled him with passion. After various doubts and readings, he was able to welcome Christ and start the simple and joyful way of living as a Catholic. 

Alexis Carrel (1873-1944), a doctor of deserved fame and unbeliever of all that was out of the empirical science, becomes when witnessing in the first person a cure occurred in Lourdes.

Manuel García Morera (1886-1942), a Spanish philosopher, married to a Catholic who respected his agnosticism, was able to leap from the faith first with a rational path and then after a mystical vision that would narrate in his writing "The extraordinary fact." 

Edith Stein (1891-1942), the Jewish non-believer, is struck thanks to the reading of Santa Teresa de Ávila. It Is baptized, enters a Carmelite convent, and ends its days in an extermination camp.

Giovanni Papini (1881-1956), who wrote a book full of blasphemies and hatred against Christ, published years later another work in which he narrated his inner adventure, with expressions full of humility: 

"The author of this book wrote another, years ago, to tell the melancholy life of a man who wanted for a moment to be God. Now, in the maturity of the years and the consciousness, he has tried to write the life of a God who became man "(G. Papini, Prologue to" History of Christ “).

André Frossard (1915-1995), Lover of life and beauty, second-generation atheist and son of a communist family, enters a church to draw from there a friend and comes out with a fulminant faith. He will Write years later his famous book "God exists, I met him”.

And the list would be long, long, with names like C.S. Lewis (almost Catholic...), G.K. Chesterton, E. Waugh, V. Messori, F. Hadjadj, J. Fadelle, T. Guénard, with etcetera that remains open and surprises us with stories of men and women who walk beside us.

Behind every story, there are doubts, there are battles, there are oppositions, there is simplicity, there is heroism, there is grace. Thus the decisive fact Is produced: The opening of the mind and the heart to the great certainty that Christ is the Son of the living God, who came into the world to rescue sinners, and who is still present and active in his Church.

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