From Buddhism to Catholicism

Three encounters with the Rock upon which she builds her new life in Christ.
by Good News Staff Writer | Source: Good News

Jennie, born and raised Buddhist in Malaysia, at age 30 marries Terry, a globe-trotter from India and devout Catholic.  They settle down in the United Kingdom, where she begins to familiarize herself with Catholicism as she more or less willingly accompanies Terry to Church on Sundays.  Never really convinced of Buddhism, she always carries with her these lingering questions, “Who are you, God? Where are you?” 

A first encounter at the tomb of Peter
In September 2005 she makes a pilgrimage with her husband to the tomb of John Paul II.  There, in front of the tomb of St Peter, they providentially meet Brother Branigan Sherman, originally from California, who is studying for the priesthood in Rome.  Their conversation immediately turns to the faith. 

“No, I am not Catholic, although I believe in God.  But I have a lot of questions and doubts…” she responds.  “Ah, and what kind of questions and doubts?” asks Brother Branigan.  She replies, "Oh, too many things!"

In other words, “No thanks.”  Yet it isn’t a total denial; for the next two years they keep in touch via email.  Little by little Brother Branigan responds to each of her doubts, questions, and even anger with God.  Intellectually she makes much progress, but when she considers baptism, it just doesn’t feel quite right in her heart.  “I am not ready.”
A second encounter in the Basilica of St. Peter

At Christmas of 2007 Terry and Jennie return to Rome for Brother Branigan’s priestly ordination, which moves her to tears: 48 young men who had given up their lives for Christ, such tremendous faith, “Why don't I have that?” she asks herself. 

Then at Fr. Branigan’s first mass, Jennie feels an irresistible attraction to the Eucharist; she knows God is calling her to something more, but just can’t take the step.  “I could not stop crying.  It was like this turmoil was bubbling inside me.  I had to speak with Fr. Branigan!” 

The only moment to speak happens to be, once again, in St. Peter’s, while the rest of the family and friends are on a tour.  They speak and pray together, asking God for the gift of faith.  Fr. Branigan tells her the story about the man who thought he trusted in God’s providence: a flood comes and he is first offered escape in a car, then in a boat, and finally, as the water is rising, in a helicopter, but every time he refuses saying, “No, God will save me!”  When he goes to heaven he asks God, “Why didn’t you save me?”  God responds, “I sent you a car, then a boat, then a helicopter, what more could you want?”  After that conversation things are better, but she still feels unsure. 
A third encounter… with Peter himself!

Their last day in Rome Terry and Jennie go into St. Peter's for a last look around before heading to the airport.  Confused and frustrated with so many conflicting emotions and thoughts going through her soul, she finds herself in front of the statue of St. Peter and blurts out, "YOU saw Jesus but you DOUBTED him and you REJECTED him three times!  So how can you expect me to believe?  Help me then, show me what to do!”  Suddenly - it hits her like a ton of bricks!  "Oh my God!  Fr Branigan is my helicopter!”

She had let the car and the boat pass by, and now the helicopter was about to take-off… literally!  On the way to the airport she tries to call Fr. Branigan a million times, but no answer.  In a frustrated last effort, she simply leaves a message at the seminary, “Tell Fr. Branigan I think I am ready! Jennie.” 

Just before she boards the plane, her cell rings… it’s Fr. Branigan!  She quickly answers and just comes out with: “FR. BRANIGAN! YOU'RE MY HELICOPTER!”  There is silence.  She repeats: “YOU'RE MY HELICOPTER!”  Then there is laughter; he laughs and she laughs and cries at the same time.  She says, “I think I'm ready!”  To which he responds, “Jennie, if you are ready I am ready!”

“Yes! At long last, I was ready!  And yes, Fr. Branigan is going to be in Rome around Easter!  And yes, he is going to baptize me! Thank you so much God!”

Easter 2008
The moment finally arrives: Easter Vigil at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Rome.  The rite of baptism comes to an end, and so do all her doubts, worries, and insecurities; PEACE!  The choir begins to sing, and she says to Fr. Branigan, “As soon as I was baptized, all my doubts vanished!” 

Needless to say, Mass is no longer a drag for Jennie; on the contrary, the Eucharist has become the center of her life!  Now she knows who God is and where he is, but that is not enough… she tells everyone she meets about him!

-Information taken from a testimony written by Jennie, April 15, 2008.


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Post a Comment
Published by: CN User
Date: 2009-01-01 10:00:00
Amazing testimony.

Published by: CN User
Date: 2009-01-01 10:00:00
Amazing testimony.

Published by: CN User
Date: 2009-01-01 10:00:00
Amazing testimony.

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