Pagan Convert

Christie Martin

Christie is a convert to Catholicism from the New Age and Neopaganism. She is a homeschooling former schoolteacher and an adoptive, foster, and birth mom of five (and counting).

My conversion to the Catholic Church took about three seconds. I was an arrogant fool sitting in on my very first Mass and watching it like I'd watch a National Geographic nature film. I was analyzing away, "Those pews are so phallic, who are they kidding that this isn't all about a patriarchy?" when I heard something Jewish. A cantor sang the Psalm. It caught my attention and stopped the haughty drift of my thoughts. I began to be interested. What else might they have stolen from the Jews?

This led to other discoveries, like the parading of the Gospels. "Well, if Jesus does claim to be the Jewish Messiah, I guess there should be Jewish elements in the worship," I thought dismissively until it occurred to me I'd never seen Jewish elements in the Protestant churches I'd attended as a girl. Why not? I puzzled that one out for awhile. I'm not the kind of dog to drop a bone, so I puzzled awhile.

About the time for the consecration (I had no idea what it was called at the time), I had come all the way around to the skeptical thought, actually accompanied by a quiet sarcasm-laden snort, "What if all this were true?"

Then I was hit repeatedly in the head with a 2 x 4. That process took all of three seconds.

I say that comically, but the wave upon wave of revelation breaking over my stunned mind was actually very painful. And beautiful and exquisite and utterly horrifying. I saw things, felt things, all in quick succession with the complete clarity of the words, "It is all true," ringing me like a bell.

Then an actual bell rang signaling the consecration. Jesus himself was upon that altar, and I was done for. I had a choice to make and it was my very last chance. It was true. I could never again deny the truth of it, but I could still deny Him. A yes would cost me every friend I had, the community I'd built, my reputation. Everything. Was I willing to give it all up?

Oh, God, yes.

Then I came back from that heady place to reality where the Mass continued before me. I was Catholic now, but that priest up there on the dais was the first one I had ever been in the same room with. I was Catholic now, but my husband wasn't. What now? I was Catholic, but I had no idea what that meant. I decided to start with the little pamphlet my husband had given me on a whim as we walked past a display on the way into the church. It was on the Rosary. As I read through the mysteries all I remembered of the life of Jesus came back to me. Then I came upon the Assumption.

"The Assumption?" I thought, "What the hell is that?" (The conversion of my heart was won; my conversion of behavior was incremental) I was a dog with a bone again.

The Mass ended. It was a daily Mass, so there wasn't a crowd. The priest was at the back of the church talking with a woman. They both greeted my husband and I warmly, the priest asking a few questions of the new people. He quickly discovered my husband was an ex-Catholic and I wasn't anything I was willing to own up to publicly yet. I said I wanted to join the Catholic Church and shot a guilty look at my husband. I knew it wasn't nice to tell him like this, but I didn't have the guts to face him all at once. Maybe he could get over the initial reaction and be polite by the time we got to the car.

Then I blurted out my question before I lost my nerve and before the polite chit chat wound down, "What's an Assumption?"

"The Assumption?" the priest looked surprised. He gave an answer too small to satisfy my hunger, "It was when Our Lady was taken to heaven to reign as Queen Mother."

I pressed for more information and he asked me to make an appointment. I was there the next day and in RCIA by the end of the week. I was a thorn in that program's side. I read book after book, and completely ignorant, each question generated more questions. I took to carrying a notebook to jot them in. People would actually groan when at the end of the RCIA class my hand would go up when they asked, "Are there any questions?" I had pages full.

Somebody in Heaven took pity on my classmates and drew my attention to a bumper sticker with the local Catholic Radio station on it. I tuned in my dial and there I found the depth and breadth I craved.

My husband was kinder than I knew. He had been uncomfortable with the direction our spiritual life had taken us and was relieved to come home to the faith. He joined a Landings Group and began his own Catechesis. Meanwhile, my conversion was a big secret from my family and friends. There were two reasons for this: my family and my friends.

My family was Church of Christ. While it was never spoken of from the pulpit growing up, the handouts available on the tables in the vestibule often held tracts that spouted things like the Catholic Church was the whore of Babylon and the Pope was the Anti-Christ. A few people in the church had family members convert to Catholicism. This news was greeted in the same manner as people whose family members had come down with cancer: with condolences, disbelief, and shocked horror. Although my mother and father made it clear they did not approve of the tracts, neither did they approve of Catholics and their beliefs. I grew up with the impression that they were a strange cult, like the Moonies.

My friends were another matter entirely. They loathed Christians, Catholics especially. One had told the story of her son accompanying her to visit her mother at a senior facility. Some little old ladies in the lobby had made semi-rude gossipy comments about them as they walked past. The little boy got on the elevator, rolled his eyes and said, "Probably Christians." His mother laughed as she told that story, so did everyone present. I didn't. As far from Christian as I was, I thought she was training up a bigot. That's never funny.

I told one friend what was happening with me. She was pretty neutral except that she was worried how it would change the dynamics of our relationship. We still keep in touch loosely. The others were a different story. I announced it finally and endured tears and anger and finally a scathing acceptance of "my truth." I had lost all credibility and, in their eyes, any claim to intelligence. After a few abortive attempts, all contact with that group of friends was lost. No one would return my calls or even my Seasons Greetings Cards. Finally, after a few years I just started sending Christmas Cards thinking what could I loose? One responded and now we exchange biannual letters. The others dumped me because they couldn't be friends with someone like me, an intolerant Catholic.

Hard to believe an average bunch of gals could be so anti-Catholic in this day and age? Not in the New Age. We were actually a group of goddess worshiping pagans and I was a priestess. I was a leader in the community. I taught classes, wrote songs, led rituals, the whole shebang. And for those of you who don't believe in these sorts of things, I was able to do all sorts of unbelievable things, like mild prognostication and other creepy stuff. The allure of these "gifts" is such that I will not go into details. Suffice it to say, my group was astonished that anyone would be willing to give up such power.

Now that I am free, it amazes me how enslaved I was to it all. I didn't see myself as worshiping the devil or demons, I just thought I had found a legitimate power source. I was amazed at the "miracles" I could perform. I was heady with it. The power is the bait. It hooks you and then turns on you. The people involved stagnate and become trapped into cycling through personal issues over and over. It's similar to the stagnation of the personality caused by alcohol and drug abuse, and the experience is very much like an addiction. With this much personal dysfunction, the groups can get ugly. One of the most chilling comments during my "confession" to my group was from the group leader, "There's a reason we used to kill oath breakers." She didn't mean our group in particular but the groups in the largely recreated neopagan past. Her reference was historically dubious, but I was never so glad to dust myself off and move on in my life.

I found myself filling my days not with the chatter of friends, but the chatter of Catholic Radio. It was a lonely but a wonderful time. I was discovering things and growing as a person in ways I never could have imagined. My husband was also undergoing a transformation. Our marriage had never been better. Incrementally, I was learning just how self centered and sinful I was, and I was learning how much I was loved. I had, all my life, yearned for something, unknowing. Now I knew, and I had that something.

In the midst of this, I told my parents. They were not pleased, but they were not condemning either. They said they would tell the rest of the family for me, meaning aunts and uncles. It was their way to spare everyone any unkindness or awkwardness stemming from the initial shock. Then my parents said something that surprised me, "This will be good for your family."

That they found some good in my conversion was an incredible surprise at the time. Of the two groups, family vs. friends, I had expected the opposite reactions. I had feared that my family would disown me and expected my friends to work out a new relationship with me. Exactly the opposite occurred. I was disowned by my friends, but my family and I have worked things out.

Why did I visit that church that day? Like any convert I was looking for something and found more than I bargained for. I was considering attending the Catholic Church because I wanted a community large enough to hide myself in. I wanted respectability without having to actually be respectable. In a sense, Cafeteria Catholics evangelized me. I walked in that door thinking I might go to the cafeteria to pick and choose what I wanted from table. I would remain unchanged.

God had other plans.

To learn more about Christie and her ongoing journey in the Catholic Church vist her blog "Garden of Holiness".

If you have found this story helpful in your spiritual journey we hope you will consider sharing it. Have feedback or would like to share your story? Email us at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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38 comments

  • Comment Link Libby Tuesday, 07 June 2011 13:40 posted by Libby

    "The power is the bait. It hooks you and then turns on you. The people involved stagnate and become trapped into cycling through personal issues over and over. It's similar to the stagnation of the personality caused by alcohol and drug abuse, and the experience is very much like an addiction."

    Yes, yes, YES. Thank you so much for telling your story. As one former Pagan to another, welcome home, sister. Welcome home. :D

  • Comment Link Allie Tuesday, 07 June 2011 17:27 posted by Allie

    Thank you so much for your story! I dabbled in Paganism earlier in life for nearly two years until I defaulted to atheism, and now I'm Catholic. This is a wonderful testimony.

  • Comment Link Christie Wednesday, 08 June 2011 00:30 posted by Christie

    Thanks for the welcome Libby and Allie. It's such a relief to finally be home, isn't it? Glad you both made it, too!

  • Comment Link Tony in Central PA Wednesday, 08 June 2011 02:23 posted by Tony in Central PA

    Interesting you mentioned the liturgical Jewish - Catholic connection. I had something of an opposite experience fifteen years ago as a minimal Catholic, but " practicing agnostic " in a Jewish worship setting. I remember thinking, " Hey ! Why are they doing this Catholic stuff ? ". I later talked to a very kind rabbi who explained some things to me that ended up pointing me toward the Catholic Church, although I don't know if that was his intention.

    I have to laugh when skeptics of Christianity always try to " reconstruct " the development of early Christianity to some preexistent pagan cult or mystery religion when the obvious answer to the question is Judaism.

  • Comment Link Brian Wednesday, 08 June 2011 02:28 posted by Brian

    Thank you for the humble, inspiring conversion story, Mrs. Martin. Converting to Catholicism can be extremely trying when family and friends are opposed, and especially when the convert is a member of the clergy in another faith. I am heartened at your positive outlook on making the transition from a priestly pagan ministry to the lay Christian vocation to consecrate the world to Christ. What an exemplary lesson about the nature of power: that it is to be used serving others instead of for its own sake.

    I was particularly amazed at how your dispositional fidelity to truth interacted with a powerful movement of God's grace to effect your conversion. Your friends' reaction to your confession of faith saddened me, but let us all take heart from Jesus' promise to restore in an infinitely more perfect degree all that his disciples have given up for him.

    May God bless you and your husband, children, and your Catholic and non-Catholic family as well. Amen.

  • Comment Link luce Wednesday, 08 June 2011 03:31 posted by luce

    Christie,
    Thank you for taking time to share your story. I was deeply moved by your witness.

  • Comment Link Jeffrey Quick Wednesday, 08 June 2011 09:49 posted by Jeffrey Quick

    Thank you. I spent nearly a quarter century as a Wiccan. I finally realized that Wiccans were dysfunctional people (and Gardnerian Wiccans just broken in more sophisticated ways), that self-interest made a rationally-defined morality impossible, and that defective "knowledge of good and evil" fit the definition of Original Sin.

    Re Witch attitudes towards Catholicism: that always bothered me. They'd bring up the Burning Times, but the Calvinists killed Witches too, and nobody ever foamed at the mouth over Presbyterians. At my conversion, I realized that "flak means you're over the target." But it's more than being right; Catholic ritual practice speaks to the same places in the soul that a circle does. They can't stand the competition.

  • Comment Link Kinana Wednesday, 08 June 2011 12:08 posted by Kinana

    One of the most chilling comments during my "confession" to my group was from the group leader, "There's a reason we used to kill oath breakers."

    When the group’s purpose, membership and identity is more important than the conscience of the individual then there is trouble. If it is not too off topic, this comment reminds me of what Mohammed, the founder of Islam, has said: 'Whoever changes his Islamic religion, then kill him.'

  • Comment Link Susan Kehoe Wednesday, 08 June 2011 15:19 posted by Susan Kehoe

    Welcome home Christie! It must have taken great courage to enter into the Church knowing that you would loose so much.

    God Bless

  • Comment Link ecb Wednesday, 08 June 2011 16:20 posted by ecb

    welcome home

  • Comment Link Pam Forrester Wednesday, 08 June 2011 17:30 posted by Pam Forrester

    Love your sense of humor. Love and prayers for you and your family. Your story gave me chills...good chills. :)

  • Comment Link Christie Wednesday, 08 June 2011 17:42 posted by Christie

    Susan, I gained so much more. There was a lot of sadness and loneliness, but I was given the grace to pray the Rosary every day for the first two years. That really was a consolation in every sense of that word. A lot of those feelings came from a horror of knowing the truth and not being able to articulate it to my friends. I had no way to convince them. No rationale. Nothing.

    I also gained a lot of understanding as to what true friendship was through it all. I realized I was as selfish in my friendships as I was in everything else. My friendships were built on a mutual self-serving meme. I thought nothing of cancelling plans if it suited me, you know the sort of thing. Of course they bailed when things changed. Now I'm blessed with two very good and true friends. It took five years for me to make such good friendships--I had to earn friends by first becoming the type of person who could return that type of friendship. They were worth waiting (and changing) for!

  • Comment Link priests wife Wednesday, 08 June 2011 17:56 posted by priests wife

    Praise God! Come visit a Byzantine rite Catholic Church--- we look even MORE Jewish! ;)

  • Comment Link Christie Wednesday, 08 June 2011 19:00 posted by Christie

    I promise to be way more respectful when I first visit a Byzantine Rite Catholic Church than I was for my first visit to a Roman Rite Church, PriestsWife!

  • Comment Link Christie Wednesday, 08 June 2011 19:05 posted by Christie

    Brian, I thought the exact same thing afterwards. I asked and I received. I questioned the truth and the Truth answered. Truth is dangerous, no?

  • Comment Link Mary Wednesday, 08 June 2011 23:18 posted by Mary

    Absolutely beautiful! I am privileged to know you! Always felt a lil something special from our emails, now I know WHY! May He continue to shower you and yours with His most choice blessings sweetie! *HUGS*

  • Comment Link Colleen Thursday, 09 June 2011 05:58 posted by Colleen

    completely awesome conversion story! very much enjoyed reading this, Christie. Welcome Home! Thanks and Praise be to God for the working of grace in your life.

  • Comment Link rox Thursday, 09 June 2011 22:36 posted by rox

    This is really a beautiful story and I like how you have such a sense of humor too ! people forget especially people who are into I'm a pagan / I'm a victim mode that actually it was pagans who invented that method of torture we know as burning at the stake and just as many christians endured the burning times as so called witches . so what have we learned ? we should not burn each other alive , I hope ☺
    Thanks for the beautiful testimony ☺from a catholic who loves her neo pagan roots too

  • Comment Link Mikel Friday, 10 June 2011 00:53 posted by Mikel

    Being a Catholic revert and having dabbled in all sorts of Protestantism and pagan religions, I can relate to much of your story. Thank you for sharing it so beautifully.

  • Comment Link Maureen Friday, 10 June 2011 01:19 posted by Maureen

    Thank you for telling your story.

  • Comment Link joan moore Saturday, 11 June 2011 13:29 posted by joan moore

    Wonderful witness! Was deeply moved and joy-filled throughout. Always knew we are different because of the Eucharist but didn't realize our liturgies are also different from other other unorthodox Christians by Jewish inclusions. I am born and raised Catholic, walked away from the mass and the church at 16 and experienced a similar conversion at daily mass when at 34 decided to Baptize my 6 year old twins Catholic. At the time the concern for my daughters was no affirmation anywhere in society of the values and principles I was trying to instill. Almost baptized them Lutheran (their dad's birth faith) but realized I deeply desired them to receive their 1st communion! A friend brought me to a very post-Vatican II parish and after signing them up for Baptism, started attending mass because had to show them by example. Very quickly was going to daily mass after taking them to school each morning. The parish is genuinely apostolic, receiving communion daily and all the early wonderful Catholic school theology converged at one mass in the '1 in 99' gospel and I like you, suddenly KNEW the truth. That was 23 years ago and have been converting and grateful every day since. I brought my children to Jesus in the Catholic Eucharist and to my great surprise, God brought me to Him! A very big Thanks be to God and warm welcome, sister. How blessed we are God brought you to us.

  • Comment Link Richard G Evans Sunday, 12 June 2011 07:37 posted by Richard G Evans

    Great story--I am just your average run-of-the-mill former Catholic turned Assemblies of God married minister 12 of my 20 years with them, then gay activist for 15 more, then back to Rome 5 years ago hehe. Just your average guy.

    One thing I did not include in my own story (just published around a month or so ago on this same website!) was my own involvement with Tarot and astrology. I even had some struggles with it after my return to the Church so it is a very real topic to me.

    One thing I found, though, and that is the Mysteries of the Rosary are the Catholic Church "answer" to the false Tarot meditations I used to do. The same "skills" if you will that it took to meditate on Tarot card symbols, incidentally very closely related to Freemasonry, can now be used, guided by the Holy Spirit, to make Christ and His Mother real to me. How did I ever miss that as a Catholic in earlier life? I think I missed it because we didn't MEDITATE on the Rosary--we just forced our way through it (going as fast as humanly possible) and so often did not allow the truths of it to sink in.

    So then many of us turned to false ways to meet that same need, the need to slow down, DWELL on the eternal, and let God just speak to us in the process. It is a false system but I truly believe that is much of the appeal to those of us who fell into it. WELCOME HOME :).

  • Comment Link Christie Friday, 17 June 2011 01:54 posted by Christie

    Nice to meet you, Richard! Mr. Average Guy, please meet Mrs. Ex-Unrepentant Heathen. ;)

    What you said about the Rosary gave me a lot to think about. I wonder if that was the very reason I was given the grace to pray it every day for that first year. It cut through a lot of the junk I had roiling around in my head and was probably the workhorse of the aftermath of my conversion--the continuing conversion of my intellect and conduct.

    Rox, I hope we've learned it, anyway! LOL!

    Mary, You are so sweet!

    Joan, would you think I was being too pushy if I said I thought you ought to write your conversion story, too? Because, well...;)

  • Comment Link Laura Friday, 24 June 2011 05:19 posted by Laura

    It was a very funny story :) and beautiful, glad to have you home!

  • Comment Link Angela Santana Saturday, 25 June 2011 06:01 posted by Angela Santana

    Christie,
    Just wanted to say - THANK YOU for sharing! Your wonderful personality shines through your words. God has clearly blessed you. Isn't it wonderful how He 'spoils' us? I love how clear God's love is in the Catholic faith.

  • Comment Link Brandon Vogt Tuesday, 12 July 2011 03:06 posted by Brandon Vogt

    It was so encouraging to read your story. I think the truth of Catholicism can be measured in part by how much people give up for it. To risk being ostracized by family and friends for a new found faith is not only a testament to your boldness but also to Catholicism's worth.

    "And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life." - Matthew 19:29

  • Comment Link Julio Friday, 23 December 2011 03:13 posted by Julio

    This is a wonderful conversion story and one that should be read by all Catholics, both cradle and new ones. To cradle Catholics, it shows how precious our faith is and how much deeper we need to go into it, every day of our lives. Too many Catholics live a faith that has no power in it and is narrow, one sided, simplistic and boring. Catholicism is the ONE TRUE FAITH and has to be lived with passion and intensity! For new Catholics, this story can give them the perspective that Catholicism stands towering way above all the recycled modern paganism that enjoys such overwhelming publicity and their absolute hatred of our Church. True Catholicism grows exponentially stronger the stronger the opposition gets! Thank you, Jesus and Mary! Thank you, Heavenly Father and Holy Spirit!

  • Comment Link Domingo Saturday, 14 January 2012 18:14 posted by Domingo

    Thanks for sharing your story, Christie. It is a wonderful testament to God's love. He will never stop to pursue us just so that we can be with Him. Of course, it's our choice to love Him in return or not, and He respects that. I thank God that you opened yourself to His grace!

    Welcome home!

  • Comment Link tom Saturday, 14 January 2012 18:25 posted by tom

    Welcome Sister! Jesus in the Eucharist is the Truth. Remember his Mother Mary will help you to get to know and love Him even more. That is what the Blessed Mother will do for all who ask.

  • Comment Link Shin Saturday, 14 January 2012 18:45 posted by Shin

    'I shall do everything for Heaven, my true home. There I shall find my Mother in all the splendor of her glory. I shall delight with her in the joy of Jesus himself in perfect safety.'

    St. Bernadette Soubirous

    - Inspirational Quotes from the Saints (saintsquotes.net)

    Welcome home! :) Welcome home!

  • Comment Link Jim Saturday, 14 January 2012 19:37 posted by Jim

    it is nice to realize that we are about to enter the "Era of Peace". A few more years for the tribulation to get thru and then we go into this beautiful time. You and I are priveliged to be alive during the now times.
    Get ready. What a ride we are going to enjoy.

  • Comment Link Michael Saturday, 14 January 2012 21:17 posted by Michael

    WELCOME to unending, tremendous love of Jesus! You will find no power can ever equal the love He has for all His children.
    Thank you for sharing your story. Continue to grow in the site of God!

  • Comment Link anne rookey Saturday, 14 January 2012 22:02 posted by anne rookey

    Like always, stories like yours make me cry. They touch me so much. Thank you for sharing your conversion. I also am a convert, from the Methodist faith. I love my faith very deeply, and continually want to grow more. I go to daily mass, and eucharistic adoration every chance I get. Mary is the most special mother I could ever have. God Bless you and keep you. We're so happy for you.

  • Comment Link Tommy Sunday, 15 January 2012 06:17 posted by Tommy

    It's a transfiguration experience for you and your husband! God is truly awesome. He works in wondrous ways.

  • Comment Link Vin Sunday, 15 January 2012 15:00 posted by Vin

    How wonderful to read such an inspiring story. I am a cradle Catholic but attribute my faith to God's blessings in the friends he put in my path to keep me faithful. I hope your ex friends will be inspired by your decision. You never really know how you influence those around you. God Bless You and Yours Always.

  • Comment Link Fernand Sunday, 15 January 2012 19:11 posted by Fernand

    Dear Christie,

    I am very delighted to read about your conversion. The Lord has always some curious ways to recover a soul. I am very happy for you and family. I ask the Lord to give graces and blessings to all of you.

    It is comforting to see in those difficult times in whose we live to see God at work to save souls redemeed by the Holy Sacrifice of the Cross and continued on the Altar by His priests. Please continue your way on and stay united in prayers.

    Fernand

  • Comment Link Alex Thursday, 22 May 2014 19:10 posted by Alex

    I am a Pagan myself, and I'm sorry (and quite shocked) to hear that your friends were so nasty. I can't see how anyone could fault someone else for believing whatever makes sense to that person. I wish you well on your journey, wherever it may take you.

    One thing I find a little surprising was your description of feeling addicted to power. I hadn't heard of anything like that before. From what I've seen, big egoes tend to be the major problem.

    In any case, you have my kindest regards.

  • Comment Link Terry Monday, 09 June 2014 15:53 posted by Terry

    Thank you for sharing your story. I was a very happy Pagan for over ten years, like you I led a Wiccan group and I was a member of obod, training as a Druid ovate.
    During a solo ritual I experienced an angry "voice, " not a voice like like you hear but there anyway seeming to say "why are you doing this, this is not his plan for you"
    It stopped me in my tracks , cutting a long story short I secretly became a closet christian. Still something was not quite right and cutting another long story short I found the EWTN TV channel, it was like a lightning strike, I was home. I summoned up the courage to contact our local Catholic priest, was horrified when he invited me to his home to chat, he was/ is, a truly understanding, frank and honest man. I attended a mass at the church and was very emotional by the end. I became a catholic and have never been so happy spiritually. I have to say not everyone has understood but nearly three years down the line my faith is still so much in my heart and always will be.

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