Catholic Conversion Stories
One of the best ways to understand why and how to become Catholic is to follow those who have done it before you. Enter Catholic converts. These three books of my favourite Catholic conversion stories.
- Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic by David Currie — My favourite Protestant-to-Catholic conversion story, if only because it was the one that tipped me over the edge into the Catholic Church. It’s clear, charitable, and compelling. What more can you ask?
- Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It by Jennifer Fulwiler — A very different style of Catholic conversion story, this time from atheism. It’s the perfect complement to Currie’s book with much more on suffering, sexual ethics, and the general messiness of life.
- On Being Catholic by Thomas Howard — Not strictly a conversion story but the author was a convert from Protestantism and immerses you into the Catholic worldview in a way few other books can. His chapter on the saints blew my mind.
Along with personal stories, you also need to really dig into the differences between Catholics and Protestants. Why did the Reformation happen? I’d focus on the three most controversial issues between Catholics and Protestants: the authority of the Church, justification by faith alone, and the role of Mary, the Mother of God.
- The Protestant’s Dilemma: How the Reformation’s Shocking Consequences Point to the Truth of Catholicism by Devin Rose — This was one of the first Catholic books I read and it shattered my paradigms like nobody’s business. Check out my review here.
- The Drama of Salvation: How God Rescues You from Your Sins and Brings You to Eternal Life by Jimmy Akin — This is the only book on the list I haven’t actually read but you need something on the issues of how we are actually saved and these easily looks like the best out there.
- Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God by Scott Hahn — Devotion to our Lady often takes a lot of thought and prayer to get your head around. That’s why you need the incomparable Scott Hahn.
The sacraments are the heart of the Catholic life. The two most familiar sacraments for Catholics are the Eucharist and Confession. They are our spiritual food and spiritual cleansing. So you’ll want to cover both of them. Plus, you need the most quintessentially Catholic prayer, the Rosary.
- Eucharist by Fr Robert Barron — If you want a book on the Eucharist, you need a priest and you can’t get much better than the superb Fr Barron. If you want more on the Eucharist, it’s worth checking out Jesus and the Jewish Origins of the Eucharist for how the Mass fits is the fulfillment of the Old Testament.
- 7 Secrets of Confession by Vinny Flynn — Confession is one of the harder sacraments to understand and it’s even harder to practice well!
- The Rosary: The Prayer That Saved My Life by Immaculée Ilibagiza — I’d recommend this book out of the many on the Rosary because it really shows the power of the Rosary, even in the midst of the Rwandan genocide.
Catholic Spiritual Classics
Finally, you need to get into some Catholic classics. When you’re considering Catholicism, it’s important not to stuck on intellectual arguments but really get into the heart of the Faith.
- Confessions of St Augustine trans. F. J. Sheed — Peter Kreeft says this is the best translation of St Augustine’s Confessions so I trust him.
- Introduction to the Devout Life by St Francis de Sales — It’s hard to pick one spiritual classics but this is the one that revolutionised my life. St Francis manages to be both very 17th Century and very relevant in teaching the timeless truths of the Catholic Faith with real gentleness and clarity. Yeah, I’m a Salesian fangirl at heart!
- Life of Christ by Ven. Fulton Sheen — He might not be be a saint yet but give him a few decades and he’ll probably be one. Either way, his writings are an absolute must for thoughtful Catholics.