Raised Catholic, Emma Fradd became an atheist in high school based off the reasoning that she couldn't prove God existed. That changed when she received an extraordinary grace through the hands of the Blessed Mother.
Five years ago, I was an Atheist. I was born and raised as a Catholic but when I got to high school and started thinking more about my ‘faith’, I became friends with people who didn’t believe in God, so I considered myself to be an atheist. I always asked myself the question: “Is there a God?” My main reasoning behind being an atheist was that I couldn’t see God; I couldn’t hear Him or feel Him, so He just must not be real. This pushed me to live an unhealthy lifestyle, filled with drugs, alcohol, stealing, impure relationships and for the most part, just sadness.
At the age of 18, Scott Woltze robbed three banks and was sent to prison. After his release he pursued a life as a secular academic. Then at the age of 33, he had an experience of the mercy and love of God, and reverted back to the Catholic faith.
So let’s start with the obvious question: How does an eighteen year-old come to the shocking decision to rob banks? At that time I thought I was at an impasse: I dropped out of high school after being suspended seven times my senior year, and I’d just quit my job because I couldn’t manage my anxiety amongst the ups and downs. I was still reeling from a rough childhood, and I had gradually become alienated in some deep sense from life itself, from existence, from the ultimate meaning of things. Of course now I know that all of these things add up to the fact that I was alienated from God—who I didn’t even believe in at the time. Even so, I couldn’t bear this alienation, and so I held the strange view that the radical act of robbing banks would help me break through the gray facade of life and scratch the bottom of existence. I thought that robbing banks was so out of the ordinary, such a break from the normal that it would cause a kind of metaphysical rupture and I would finally see life for what it is. I also thought that robbing banks would surely land me in prison—since I knew that nine out of ten bank robbers get caught—and that prison would give me a chance to rebuild myself. I know it sounds crazy—a wild paradox—but I was making an escape into prison as a last attempt to salvage myself. And believe it or not it actually worked and exceeded all of my desperate hopes.
Kathleen is a baker, writer and editor who reverted to Catholicism on the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in October 1997. She is an Oblate at St. Benedict Abbey in Still River, MA. She lives near Boston and her two sons are grown and living on their own.
I remember it clearly. My husband and I decided to leave the Church, and we invited his Catholic parents over to justify ourselves. It was 1990 and we recently had our first son. With him on my hip, I stood in front of my mother-in-law and addressed the topic of abortion. Acerbic and ignorant, I asked, "Who does the Catholic Church think they are, telling me I can't have an abortion if I want one?" "Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on me."
Maolsheachlann O Ceallaigh
Maolsheachlann is the founder of the GK Chesterton Society of Ireland and is a revert to the Catholic faith from atheism. He currently resides in Dublin Ireland.
The most astonishing aspect of most reversion stories—and mine is no exception—is how little cradle Catholics think about the faith they inherit, or indeed about the very nature of their existence, until they hit some spiritual crisis. Somehow, for years on end, we manage to toddle along through this gob smacking experience called life without wondering very much about how we got here, or whether it means anything. We imbibe a set of stories about a God-man who died and rose from the dead two thousand years ago, without being too bothered about whether it's true or not.
"Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you." Is 49:15
My mother died when I was 5. Her death shattered my world. I'm sure she never forgot us but I felt forgotten. I was one of seven. My father later married a widow of 4 and had 4 more for a total of 15 children. In the town where we grew up, this was way too many children.
We were Catholic in a town that believed Catholics got it all wrong. I was a social misfit. I was often told, "You know all you Catholics are going to hell don't you?" Our prayer life consisted of Mass, Stations of the Cross and reciting formal memorized prayers (like the rosary). I usually spent the time "counting down" the prayers rather than actually praying. I paid little attention to the words. I knew nothing of the Bible. I was poorly catechized and poorly formed, but God had not forgotten about me.
Lorraine is a Catholic revert and ex-feminist who returned to the faith of her childhood after 25 years an atheist.
I Was a Teenage Feminist: My Journey Back to Mother Church
I was in the newsstand of the Miami bus terminal, my saddle oxfords a bit scuffed and my
uniform crumpled after a steamy day of classes, when I spotted something that utterly horrified me.
It was not an X-rated book or magazine, but something much worse, "Why I Am Not a Christian" by Bertrand Russell.
Born and raised Catholic, Russ left the Church as a teenager and became a devout evangelical Christian for many years. His journey of faith has taken many dramatic twists and turns culminating in his joyful reception back to the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
About 35 years ago as a young teen, I strayed from my Catholic faith and began to look into the occult and the rock and roll culture for answers and peace in my life. My parents brought me to Church faithfully but didn't allow their faith to help them with their personal problems. They had a troubled marriage and alcohol abuse was a chronic unspoken demon in their lives. As a teenager my Catholicism meant little to me, though I do remember praying the rosary at night to help me sleep when I was troubled by something.
After being raised Catholic, Richard Evans left the Catholic Church from ages 15-49, becoming an Evangelical minister and eventually a gay activist. This is the story of his departure and return to the fullness of the Catholic faith.
After Coming Out, I Came Home
I CANNOT RECALL A TIME WHEN I WAS NOT AWARE OF GOD IN MY LIFE. While other little boys were planning to be firemen or police, I often said, even at age seven or eight, "I want to be the Pope!" I jumped at the chance to become an altar boy, having already had much practice as the family "priest" when we played Mass—complete, at times, with flattened "hosts" made of white bread and cut out with bottle caps. The idea of actually serving next to the priest at the real Mass was incredible to me, and I did so with joy for the next four years.
Dr. Kevin Vost
Dr. Kevin Vost was raised Catholic, became an atheist in his late teens, and returned to the Christ and the Church at age 43. Dr. Vost resides with his lovely wife Kathy and his sons Eric and Kyle in Springfield, Illinois.
From Atheism to Catholicism: A Tale of Three Supermen
Neither bird, nor plane… but Superman!
I was born and raised Catholic, but also Supermanian. Some of my earliest memories involve sitting in front of the television, mesmerized by that incredible, flying man of steel. He was invincible, doing good and daring deeds effortlessly and with a smile. Men respected him, women adored him, and he didn’t even want people to know who he really was. I too would come to don a Superman suit, cape and all, to such an extent that my mother’s friends called her “Superman’s mom.” One fine Saturday in the mid 1960s, mom informed me that Kevin, and not Superman, would be attending a relative’s wedding, so I attended in my street clothes. Fortunately, I was able to persuade an older cousin to take me out to the car. Soon a young Superman (the car would be my makeshift phone booth) sat down in the pew right between his mortified mother and quite bemused father.
Michael is a 32 years old Catholic Christian who came home in December 2007 to the Church after 15 years away. His story like many, as of falling away from the Sacraments after Confirmation and only to later return to the Church.
December 24, 2007 is a date I won't forget. This past Christmas Eve (December 2010) marks three years since I made the official decision to return to the Catholic Church after some 15+ years away. It was my conscious effort to follow Christ and his Church - my "Yes, Lord". Beginning with several notable occurrences in the prior year, I made the decision to attend Midnight Mass by myself at the local Mission. I chose this place for several reasons. It was close, I had been there for a wedding in 2006 and lastly, I was baptized there as an infant, so it is a special place to me. Why not a rebirth there? I had not been to a Catholic Church (outside of funerals or weddings) on my own accord since my confirmation in 1992. In fact, I more or less feared setting foot in a church as it wasn't something I was comfortable doing. Add to that comments from many and society's labels and it is almost taboo. When I would drive by a Catholic Church, my conscience always nagged at me, but I would tend to find some excuse. I had always known that I would return one day, however my answer was "later", "sometime", or "not yet". That time was now.