Monday, October 19, 2015

Not A Cradle Catholic Vol.1


If you've been hanging around here for a while you probably know that I did not grow up Catholic. If you haven't read my conversion story yet, you should check it out. Faith has always been a huge part of my life and my decision to join the Catholic Church was the natural culmination of my childhood formation that I never saw coming.

Whenever I meet other converts I always want to ask them why they did it, what made them take that big step. I want to know if the Catholic Church surprised them as much as it did me.  So that's why this series is here. It's all about those of us who are NOT cradle Catholics. Why did we join up? What have we learned? Why is our perspective unique? I hope you'll follow along. Whatever your background, maybe there's something you can learn from us.

Thanks to all who so willingly participated and I hope you enjoy hearing their stories!

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Kelly is married to a man with the same name as her (yes really) and they have four darling daughters. She is expecting baby #5 in April and is told it's a boy! She lives in Nebraska, stays at home with her girls, and blogs about it on the side to help remember all the sweet moments of mothering. You can read about it at The Misadventures of Kelly and Kelly. You can also find her on Instagram


How long have you been a Catholic?

We (my husband and I) joined the Church in 2005 at Easter so a little over 10 years.

What were you before?

Lutheran.

What was your main motivation for entering the Catholic Church?

I look back on it now and I see that I was just drawn to the church. I especially wanted to be able to pray the rosary so I feel like Mary was calling me home. I started to question the validity of the Lutheran church splitting from the Catholic Church and when that fell apart it was easy to switch.

Which Church teachings were easy to accept and which were stumbling blocks?

NFP was the hardest. I told God that I could do anything except I would not do that. Until January of the year we were in RCIA and Christopher West came to town to speak. We went to the all day long talk and were convinced and immediately learned NFP.

Most of the things seemed pretty easy, which looking back must have been the grace of God and the Holy Spirit. I had lots of questions but the answers mostly just made sense and were easy to take.

Is there anything you miss from your pre-Catholic days?

I miss being the same denomination as my family.

Is there anything you really do NOT miss?

I can't think of anything. I was a pretty lukewarm Lutheran though.

In what ways (if any) has your relationship with Jesus changed since becoming Catholic?

My relationship is deeper, my prayer life is stronger. I have more trust I think.

What do you think Catholics can learn from our protestant brothers and sisters?

Love of scripture.

Biggest misconception non-Catholics have about Catholics?

That we worship Mary.

Favorite saint and saint quote?

Probably St. Theresa (and typing my answers on her feast day!) 

"The world's thy ship and not thy home."

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Sterling is a wife and mama to three girls under 5, lives in Boise, Idaho and is the host of the Coffee & Pearls show. As an adult convert, she had to discover Catholicism on her own. She is so in love with the truth and tradition of the Church that she dedicates her life to helping lukewarm Catholics discover the passion and joy of our great faith! She writes at Sterling Jaquith. Also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.


How long have you been a Catholic?

I converted to Catholicism officially in 2010 but it took me two years to actually embrace and love my Catholic faith!

What were you before?

I was a very conservative Evangelical Protestant before. 

What was your main motivation for entering the Catholic Church?

I fell in love with a Catholic man and I didn't want to raise my children in a split-religious household.  I felt sure that God wanted me to marry this man so I decided that God must also want me to become Catholic!

Which Church teachings were easy to accept and which were stumbling blocks?

I easily accepted going to Mass every week and turning to the Saints for wisdom.  I struggled to understand why we had to practice Natural Family Planning and it took me a long time to understand the beauty and the power of Adoration and the rosary.  

Is there anything you miss from your pre-Catholic days?

I miss the bible studies and the scripture memorization which was so common among my Protestant friends.  I just don't see that happening as often with my Catholic friends.  We don't talk about Jesus as often. I miss the music too.  I would go to Protestant church and meet Jesus in song.  Now I love the true presence of Christ in the Mass but I wish more people joined in singing the hymns!

Is there anything you really do NOT miss?

I don't miss the hypocrisy.  I look back now and I see so many Protestants put on a smile and said JESUS but it's a culture built on bending the rules and choosing what you want out of Christianity. 

In what ways (if any) has your relationship with Jesus changed since becoming Catholic?

After consecrating myself to Jesus through Mary I feel so much closer to Him.  I feel as if knowing her has helped me to know Him better.  I love sitting and chatting with Him in Adoration.  I never experienced anything like that before. 

What do you think Catholics can learn from our protestant brothers and sisters?

Protestants have great confidence that they can convert people.  We should have that too!  We should try harder to inspire more people to become Catholic.  Yes, you do have to hook people with warm and fuzzies but we have all the good and true stuff to back up what we're saying!  We need to evangelize more and do it with joy!

Biggest misconception non-Catholics have about Catholics?

Two things!  One, Catholics aren't being forced to "have all the babies" like we're part of some brain washed club.  I always thought I'd only have two kids.  Now, after being Catholic and spending time with so  many bigger families, I see the love that those families share.  It's that love that has inspired me to want a bigger family.  Being Catholic has just opened my heart to sacrifice and to embracing love.  

Second, everything about Mary.  And that's been hard for me.  I now love Mary so much and she's such a big part of my life that I'm saddened by all the Protestants who leave her in the background and don't think about her much.  It's such a lost opportunity because she really is amazing and we don't worship her, we honor her as the mother of Christ, as we should!

Favorite saint and saint quote?

St. Therese has stolen my heart.  She is my favorite saint.  But my favorite quote is,

 "If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!
St. Catherine of Sienna

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Emily is a wife and stay-at-home mom living the Midwestern dream with her little family. She is a lover of chocolate, coffee, and comfy sweaters. You can find out more about her and read her ramblings over at Raising Barnes.


How long have you been a Catholic?

6 1/2 years (since March of 2009)

What were you before?

Lutheran

What was your main motivation for entering the Catholic Church?

It is a hard thing to put into words.  Growing up, I was pretty active in church activities and had lots of "friends" there.  But there was just something missing.  I went on my first Lifeteen retreat my senior year of high school (2007) with my best friend; after that, I started attending more youth group functions with her as well.  I felt a kind of peace and acceptance among those people that I had never felt in all my years growing up.  That level of acceptance made me look into the faith more - what did these people have that I had been missing all those years???

Which Church teachings were easy to accept and which were stumbling blocks?

I wouldn't say that anything was necessarily easy to accept for me, but I didn't have a lot of stumbling blocks either.  I was very lucky to be surrounded by people who were willing to listen to my concerns and answer my questions.  There were things that didn't always make sense to me, but I felt a peace that eventually I would understand them.  There are lots of things that I'm still learning to appreciate, even today! 

Is there anything you miss from your pre-Catholic days?

Having a common faith with my parents has been the hardest thing.  They were supportive of my decision to convert, but I think it is hard for all of us to not share that common bond anymore.  They attend Mass with us once a year (Christmas), which I am so grateful for, but it just isn't quite the same any more.  

Is there anything you really do NOT miss?

The traditions and rituals of the Catholic Church are just so beautiful and amazing to me!  I really don't feel like I'm missing anything from the faith that I grew up in because the Catholic faith offers so much more!  

In what ways (if any) has your relationship with Jesus changed since becoming Catholic?

I am by no means perfect or an expert when it comes to my relationship with Jesus, but I do feel like He became more real to me after becoming Catholic.  Growing up, we were never really taught how to have a relationship with Christ.  To me, He felt more like a distant character than someone to have a living, breathing relationship with.  Becoming Catholic made Him more real to me, making that relationship feel more attainable.  But it is always a work in progress.  

What do you think Catholics can learn from our protestant brothers and sisters?

The importance of community.  There were (are still are) lots of opportunities to gather and build community in the church that I grew up in.  That was the hardest thing coming into the Catholic Church - there wasn't an obvious group that I felt like I could belong to.  This could look different depending on the parish you attend or the city in which you live.  And there have been so many changes, even in the 6 short years that have passed since I became Catholic.  But, I think it is still an important thing to emphasize community - our faith is both personal and communal.  

Biggest misconception non-Catholics have about Catholics?

That our faith is weird, perhaps bordering on fanatical.  I didn't experience too much Catholic "bashing" growing up, but some of the stories I did hear seemed so ... odd.  Did Catholics really believe they were eating Jesus?!?  Once I learned more, Jesus' presence in the Eucharist became a beautiful thing, but when you only hear snippets of it, it all sounds very strange.  

Favorite saint and saint quote?

St. Michael & Blessed Mother Teresa

"If I ever become a saint - I will surely be one of 'darkness.'  I will continually be absent from Heaven - to light the light of those in darkness on earth."  
- Blessed Mother Teresa

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stay tuned for more stories. And as always, keep in touch!

   

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4 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for putting this together! It's neat to read everyone's story!

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  2. Thank you, yes! Fun to read and meet other converts too.

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  3. Loved reading! I'm a convert and appreciate each person's journey (that's why I do a podcast about it! lol!) I was nodding along in agreement to so many statements! I, too, wish we had more opportunities for community in the Catholic Church. I miss that. Yet, at the same time, I'm glad we don't operate like a club. We can't change the world around us if we're always indoors at church, you know? :-) God bless each of you!

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