Converting to Catholicism

A Letter from Sarah Carey

Photo by Annie Spratt

Photo by Annie Spratt

(Click on the letters to enlarge)

Dear sister,

What is your greatest fear? Our Lord tells us to never fear, but yet, I find myself failing in this area of our great Faith. Perhaps you struggle with this, too. My relationship with fear has always remained constant: fear of car accidents, fear of food poisoning, fear of believing the wrong doctrines, fear of hellfire.  Life is tiresome when you’re afraid and trying to hold on to your salvation for dear life. Life is tiresome when you’re traveling to your spiritual home and there is no end to the road in sight. 

You see, dear sister, I am a convert to Catholicism. 

I was raised by devout parents who love and serve Jesus without shame. They taught me the tenets of the Christian faith: the divinity of Jesus, how He was born of a virgin in Bethlehem, died for our sins, and rose again to conquer sin and death. The little church we attended was tight-knit and warm: we were there for each other. At the age of six (without external pressure from my parents), I discerned that I was ready for baptism. 

For years, I was too comfortable in my faith. After all, our church did everything “right” and followed the Bible. We weren’t like Catholics who drank, cursed, and only went to confession just to sin all over again. I believed if I kept doing those “right” things, I wouldn’t lose my salvation and place in Heaven. If I am honest, sister, I was not motivated by my love for Jesus, I was motivated by fear. I believed that if I just dotted every “I” and crossed every “T,” I would be worthy enough for Jesus. 

Yet, as I grew older, I felt a growing pull to our Catholic faith. There was fear again, rearing its ugly head. I wanted what my Catholic friends had: an order in their year with Advent and Lent, fasting, liturgy, saints, Our Lady, and Ash Wednesday. In college and the following years, I struggled with these desires of faith. I looked longingly at the Catholic church at the edge of campus, yet I only entered the doors once. Even then, along the way, I still felt Our Lord at my side. 

In November 2016, I held my breath, and took the plunge. I attended RCIA in a lovely and vibrant rural parish. As my confirmation drew closer, I announced my intentions on social media. The backlash was very ugly, especially from those in my former faith community. I was told I was wrong, that I was no longer a Christian, and that I was going to hell.

Sister, to hear this from those who once called me a friend was a heartache. I felt alone.

Today, though, I recall the words of St. Padre Pio: “Do not fear. Jesus is more powerful than all hell.” Jesus is more powerful, dear sister. More powerful than those who would discourage you in your faith, more powerful than those who would bring you down in other parts of your life. Even better, Our Lord has said “Fear not, for I have overcome the world.” 

My sister, even if you are a cradle Catholic, we are all called to conversion. Regardless of who we are or where we live in the world, Jesus calls us each to a radical change of heart. Just like the fear of hellfire, the fear of giving it all to Jesus can be scary. Others will try to pull you down, but thankfully, we have Our Lord, who has conquered sin, hell, and death, on our side.

In Christ,

Sarah


Get to know Sarah

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

sarah-carey-1.jpg

Hi sister, my name is Sarah Carey. I’m 28 years old, a convert to Catholicism, and a gifted education coordinator from Central Kentucky. I’m engaged to a New Yorker, and spend lots of long weekends and school breaks traversing the sights between Manhattan and Long Island. I love international travel, Chinese soup dumplings, the Rosary, hours in Eucharistic Adoration, blogging (www.sarahecarey.com), and reading in quiet solitude. While my fiancé was a springboard for my conversion to the Catholic faith, I had admired the Church from afar for many years. Even as a Protestant, I knew that my Catholic friends had something that I didn’t. In the beginning of my conversion, I was terrified, but I pushed through. During the 2012-2013 academic year, I was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to South Korea. While in Korea, I lived with a great family and my host mom was a Catholic. After seeing her statue of Mary in the curio cabinet and rosaries around the house, I knew that was the beginning of the journey to my spiritual home. It only took about five years to cross the Tiber.


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