I grew up in Rhode Island in a very Catholic community, but I didn’t experience that much going to a non-Catholic school and church. My dad was a Presbyterian minister and faith was a big part of our lives. I had challenges when I was younger, though—an undiagnosed mood disorder, a learning disability, and struggles resulting from the loss of my mother. I also felt I was held to a high standard as a pastor’s kid, and struggled to meet that standard.
I turned to the Bible a lot when I was having trouble, which helped me focus on the promise of heaven and learn that illnesses can be used for God’s glory.
As a child, I saw the Catholic Church as a legalistic church; I thought that Catholics hated Protestants and that all they wanted was money. I had these misconceptions because I was never encouraged to open my mind and be exposed to Catholicism as a kid.
In college I took a Christian theology class that got me to think about theology in a different way. I started to wonder what happened in between the time of the early Church Fathers and the Reformation. I’d never really thought too critically about the theology behind different denominations.
I started reading in secret and learning of other stories of people who became Catholic. I realized that the Catholic Church wasn’t inviting just Catholics to “come home” but was welcoming all Christians to come home. I was uncomfortable at Mass when I went for the first time, but the people were so welcoming and so I kept going back. It was a slow journey, but my fiancé and I eventually came into the Church at the Easter Vigil after going through RCIA. When we came into the Church, I felt such a sense of belonging and community—a sense of being part of something so much bigger than myself.
I feel a new sense of purpose in my life, and my faith really guides a lot of what I do.