A native Texan, she graduated from Hillsdale a year or two after I arrived. During the brief time we overlapped, I had the privilege of getting to know her. She’s not the type of person one can easily forget. She has an intelligence and a bearing that leaves a deep impression on those around her. Certainly, she gave me much to think about in our conversations. A few years ago, when one of my closest friends asked me if I knew her—as he’d seen her interviewed on EWTN—I was stunned. Mary Moorman, always inquisitive about theology, and deeply Protestant, had converted to Catholicism.
Here’s a beautiful essay Mary wrote regarding her conversion.
As for this segment of CV’s “Bearers of the Word,” Mary graciously offered her thoughts about a month ago. Sadly, I’m just finally finding time to post them. Enjoy.
BB: Mary, please tell us a bit about yourself.
MM: I am currently a doctoral candidate in systematic theology at southern Methodist university. Primarily, I am the full time mother of my baby girl. My family lives in Dallas, but we escape to the ranch whenever we can.
BB: How did you come to Catholicism?
MM: Along with the Holy Spirit, I am indebted to my family’s devout Hispanic housekeepers for my first introduction to the Catholic faith. As a young evangelical, I loved the way these strong women prayed- the sign of the cross, the invocations of our guardian angels. In high school and college, I fell in love with the history of the Church and her liturgical worship, thanks to the friendship of some formative Anglican friends. I gradually made my way to the Catholic Church as a graduate student in Boston when I entered spiritual direction and catechesis under the guidance of priests in the Brotherhood of Hope. I was struck by the richness and passion of their love for Jesus. At the same time, I began working with the World Youth Alliance, an international organization dedicated to promoting the dignity of the person, according to the inspiration of Catholic social teaching and the theology of the body. In the Catholic Church I was finding internal conversion in love for Christ, and a wholistic, effective cultural mandate for protecting human life at every stage of it’s development and capacity-I was hooked. I was received into the Catholic Church during Easter 2007.
BB: Who are the most important Catholics today?
MM: My heroes among the significant Catholics of our day include Mother Olga of the Sacred Heart, foundress of one of the nation’s newest religious orders for women, and a sort of incarnation of the love and mercy of Christ and His mother; and my academic advisor Prof. Bruce Marshall, himself a convert, who teaches theology with utter dedication, courage, and integrity.
BB: What do you see as the connection between faith and your work?
MM: As an aspiring theologian, expounding my faith IS my work, but I have learned that in order to integrate my faith and my work fully, my work must be done in an atmosphere of prayer. When I sit down to read or write, I try to make of that time of study an active engagement with the Holy Spirit. He is always there to enliven and clarify my understanding of His truth, and if I am to do any justice to His truth, (rather than exploiting it for my own interests) I need to stay close to Him in my endeavors. I’ve learned to ask for the intercession of the saints when I read their particular theological works, and I’ve learned to offer each hour to the Lord by beginning each hour with a decade of the rosary. In my more important work as my daughter’s mother, I need to be even more reliant on the guidance and help of the Holy Spirit in preparing her for God Himself. She and I pray together throughout the day- the Creed and an Our Father on waking, the Angelus as we get dressed, intercession for others when we walk in the afternoons, the Rosary in the evenings. These prayers have become part of the rhythm of our day. It will be up to the Lord to draw my daughter’s heart to Himself, but I can help her to know the best things to say and do in response to Him as He does so!
BB: What do you see as the future of Catholicism?
MM: It is my hope that the seeming resurgence of interest in and love for the Church’s most authentic life will continue in my generation, and that we will be faithful to hand this love on to our children: true reverence for Christ in our corporate worship, awareness of the Church’s healing, hopeful teachings in all areas of life and the resolve to practice those teachings, and most of all, a renewed commitment to the hope of our calling in Christ. His calling for each of us, to Himself in the beauty of holiness, is so glorious! May we cling to Him in order to become a new generation of saints, in His service in our needy world.
BB: Thanks so much for your time, Mary. You’re an inspiration.