Friday, May 20, 2011

Recovering Faith: Stories of Catholics Who Came Home

I absolutely love the wide variety of circumstances, ministries, and people involved in helping each of the lapsed Catholics  in Recovering Faith: Stories of Catholics Who Came Home back to the Church of their youth.  I’ve always been interested in the stories of reverts and converts because of my husband’s return to the faith after many years of being away from the Sacraments and any form of organized religion.  One clear similarity connects the conversion stories of each of these individuals with those throughout the Bible and history: the power of the Lord through the inspiration and promptings of the Holy Spirit to draw us back to Him, no matter how far or how often we stray from Him.
These eighteen well-known people have vastly different life experiences, educational backgrounds, career pursuits, and even childhood upbringings in the faith, yet each one of them was led by the Holy Spirit back to the Roman Catholic Church.  Some made their way back slowly when those around them inspired them to take another look at Scripture, grow closer to Christ, and/or revisit the practice of prayer and spending time with the Lord.  Others’ conversion experiences seemed to happen at a very specific time, place, and were significant enough to make them turn their lives completely around.
Another identifiable strand throughout these stories is a growing hunger in each of these people for the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist.  Each found that as they became more open to the Holy Spirit working in and through them that their desire to receive and spend time in front of the Eucharist grew ever stronger.  With some, a relationship with Mary, the Mother of God, and praying the Rosary were instrumental in bringing them back to the Church.
The call to become involved in the pro-life ministry as part of their return to the Catholic faith is another strong tie among many of these individuals.  I enjoyed reading more about the makers of Bella, a fantastic pro-life film that came together truly by the grace of God.  I was also interested in learning more about Janet Morana, executive director of Priests for Life and cofounder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, because I have been involved in the pro-life movement for a number of years, have been really impressed with the work of Priests for Life and this spring was deeply moved by two women who came to our Spring 40 Days for Life campaign from Silent No More in order to share their testimonies.  I ended up e-mailing Janet Morana after the experience and thanking her for beginning such a powerful ministry to help women and men heal from the after-effects of abortion and guide others to choose life.    
I found this book very well-written, easy-to-follow, and a great tool for those who have fallen away from the Church and all who minister to them.  Numerous sidebars with explanations of some fundamentals of the faith, various ministries available to help people coming back into the church, and some main Church teachings are scattered throughout the book.  There’s a quick reference of these sidebars in the back, and at the end of each chapter, there are website links to check out about the person who experienced the conversion and the ministries in which they’re ahead of and/or involved in. 
I highly recommend this book and a great deal of prayer for all who are hoping to bring family, friends, and loved ones back to the Catholic faith.
This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Recovering Faith: Stories of Catholics Who Came Home. They are also a great source for a Catechism of the Catholic Church or a Catholic Bible.

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