Wednesday, February 04, 2009

In a Nutshell

Last year, I was asked to write a chapter for an unschooling book. An unschooling book for Catholics.

Recently, I was asked to provide a bio , a pic and my faith story, to accompany the chapter... My testimony. Conversion story. Whatever you want to call it.

January has been very busy for me, work wise. I do some extra volunteer stuff for Kumon, too, and that has also taken my time. So, I just haven't got around to the bios.

There was a little bit of procrastination going on there, too. I mean, who really wants to write their story and who really wants to read it?

So, today, I bit the bullet. Home at five after meetings for work, having left home at eight-forty-five this morning. I sat down and wrote the conversion story in a nutshell.

And now I'm gonna put it here. On my blog, for a keepsake. For me. I found I do really want to read and remember.

The conversion story? It's boring. It's brief. It's a nutshell, remember. But I think I'd like to save it for when I'm old and grey ( after my next birthday!). On my blog and maybe, later, in one of those bloggy books from Blurb.

ConversionI was brought up kinda atheist ( Kinda atheist? Well, there isn't a God, you know, but if you want to believe you can...that atmosphere...almost like Br Alban, one of the Battlestar Galactica cylons).

I was taken to a Seventh Day Adventist church by my uncle and decided to receive SDA instruction and be baptised aged thirteen. I felt a spiritual need, I had read the King James Bible from cover to cover. I felt a hunger, that was first ignited by visiting a friend's Catholic church, aged six. We went after school, I was visiting her for a playdate and she said to pop into church and pray. It was like forbidden fruit for me, very strange and yet comforting and I resolved never to admit my sin of being-in-a-Catholic-church to my mother...

I eventually gave up SDA church attendance but still had a strong belief in God and in Christianity. I read the Bible. I gobbled up movies like The Nun's Story and The Song of Bernadette. I was touched by a child's faith in Our Lady, after reading Rumer Godden's An Episode of Sarrows in Year Ten English class.

I met my dh at age eighteen at university, married at just turning twenty. Gerry was ( is) Catholic, I agreed to bring up any kids we may have as Catholics. And I decided to attend Mass with my fiancee and then husband and then family each Sunday.

We unschooled our kids, I was happy volunteering and working, I got involved in each parish in which we lived - helping out - family groups - playroups -Majellan meetings -assisting with childrens' liturgy - newsletters...As part of our unschoooling lifestyle, I tried to incorporate some faith actvities into our day - reading from the Book of Proverbs each day - reading saints stories to the kids - reading through sacrament preparation books - praying the Lord's prayer....

Being me, a social person, I set up groups each time we moved. Playgroups. Unschooling groups. Homeschooling groups. Catholic Homeschooling groups, so my kids could share their faith with others...but I still wasn’t interested in converting.

When son number six, Thomas, was born, I read books from a Christian bookstore and from a 1950s Catholic book - Questions About the Catholic Faith. I was hurting and searching. And was not sure if the Catholic Church was right about some doctrine. After yet another miscarriage and questioning doctrine on limbo, an unschooling friend in a brethren church , during one of our relentless discussions on faith and life and women, challenged me to find the one true church.

So started two years of reading history, church history, doctrinal stuff, Catholic books, Protestant books, books by philosophers, the early church fathers. On my own, sharing bits and pieces with my husband... until I eventually was received into the Church January 1995, when pregnant with son number seven, Anthony.

I have to say that I had researched the liturgy in a small way, found the Latin Mass and we had started attending as a family...The Latin Mass was a big clincher for me in sensing the sacred. In satisfying my spiritual searching. In feeding my soul and my mind and my senses.

I eventually received the sacrament of Confirmation, alongside sons number two and three ( Gregory and Nicholas) in the "Old Rite", the Latin Mass, in March 1997.

That is my nutshell.
My biggest stumbling block before finally becoming Catholic? Understanding the role of Our Lady.
The biggest drawcard for me in wanting to become Catholic? The way the Church answered both my intellectual and spiritual needs. Two-for-one. I didn't have to check my mind, my reason, my intellect and my questions in at the front door of the Church. They came with me, while my soul was being fed by prayers and liturgy.


Hopewell said...

Very interesting spiritual journey.

Laura A said...

Thanks for sharing this. It's interesting (and hopeful) to see how many different ways people come to faith.

Your post also reminds me that I want to read Rumer Godden.

Jonathan said...

Hi Leonie

Not sure of your email address these days. Pat said he met up with the boys at a youth breakfast. he was so pleased to see them.

Enjoyed re-'hearing' your conversion story, I know when I first met you I thought that you were a cradle catholic! Interesting that was really only two years after your fulfillment of conversion.


Leonie said...

Hi Shannon, So good to hear from you! Our email addy is the same as always and there is a link to it on my profile at my blog - but it is
I sent you a Xmas card to the last address that I had for you - and it was returned. :-( So you can imagine how fun it was when Jonathon and Greg said they saw atrick at the youth leaders breakfast!

Would love to hear your update - are you on Facebook?