Recents Converts to Catholicism

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Last week we saw pictures of the Easter Vigil Mass at which we baptized Gretchen Orr and Ric Anderson, and received into the Church Ted Hillenmeyer and Les Perry. It was an evening of grace, and our parish family welcomes them with great joy. Given this, it might be interesting to many parishioners to learn of some wellknown converts from the last century. (From the National Catholic Register)

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Recent Converts of the 20th Century


Tony Blair (b. 1953): British Labour Party leader and prime minister from 1997 to 2007, he was the youngest prime minister since 1812. His wife, Cherie, is also Catholic.

Cherry Boone (b. 1954): Daughter of popular and evangelical singer Pat Boone. Married (1975) to writer Dan O’Neill,she and her husband both converted to Catholicism.

Robert Bork (1927-2012): Judge and jurist known for the political fight that blocked his nomination to the Supreme Court (1987). He and his wife converted in 2003.

Dave Brubeck (1920-2012): World renowned American jazz musician. Resident of Wilton, CT, he converted in 1980 and was commissioned to compose the Mass to Hope.

Tim Conway (b. 1933): Comedian with roles on the TV programs McHale’s Navy and The Carol Burnett Show.

Gary Cooper (1901-1961): American actor who earned three Academy Awards, including “Best Actor” for Sergeant York and High Noon. He had a powerful meeting with Pope PiusXII in 1953 and formally entered the Church in 1959.

Dorothy Day (1897-1980): Writer, social activist and cofounder of the Catholic Worker movement with Peter Maurin. Her cause for canonization was opened in 2000.

Diana Dors (1931-1984): English actress considered a classic “blonde bombshell” in movies.

Cardinal Avery Dulles (1918-2008): American Jesuit and theologian- son of former Sec’y of State John Foster Dulles.

Newt Gingrich (b. 1943): Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999.

Graham Greene (1904-1991): British writer best known for his novels Brighton Rock, The Power and the Glory, The Heart of the Matter and The End of the Affair.

Sir Alec Guinness (1914-2000): Academy Award-winning British actor in 1957 for The Bridge on the River Kwai. And yes, he was Obi Wan Kenobi in the Star War movies.

Susan Hayward (1917-1975): Academy Award-winning actress who won the Oscar for her portrayal of death-row inmate Barbara Graham in I Want to Live! (1958).

Katharine, Duchess of Kent (b. 1933): The wife of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent (a grandson of King George V and Queen Mary and first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II), the first member of the royal family to convert since 1701.

Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918): American poet, journalist and editor, best known for his short poem Trees (1913). He was killed in 1918 at the end of World War I.

Dean Koontz (b. 1945): Prolific novelist who has sold more than 450 million copies of his books.

Clare Boothe Luce (1903-1987): First woman appointed to a major ambassadorial post, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1943-1947), writer and playwright.

Norma McCorvey (1947-2017): The plaintiff in the infamous 1973 lawsuit Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion who subsequently became pro-life.

Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980): Canadian philosopher and media theorist best known for coining the expressions “the medium is the message” and “global village.”

Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990): British journalist, satirist and author. He became a Catholic in 1982 with his wife, Kitty, through the influence of St. Teresa of Calcutta.

Bernard Nathanson (1926-2011): American medical doctor and a founding member of NARAL Pro-Choice America who joined the pro-life movement in the 1970s.

Queen Nazli (1894-1978): Queen of Egypt (1919-1936), the second wife of King Fuad and mother of King Farouk. She and her daughter, Fathia, converted from Islam in 1950.

Patricia Neal (1926-2010): Academy Award-winning actress for her performance in Hud (1963). She converted to Catholicism a few months before her death.

Robert Novak (1931-2009): American journalist, columnist and conservative political commentator.

Walker Percy (1916 -1990): American writer beloved for his novels that confront man’s struggle with modernity.

Knute Rockne (1888-1931): Norwegian-born coach of the Notre Dame football team from 1918 to 1930 and considered one of the greatest coaches in sports history.

Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966): English writer famed for his novel Brideshead Revisited (1945).

John Wayne (1907-1979): Academy Award-winning actor beloved for his roles in westerns and war movies.

Israel Zolli (1881-1956): Italian Jewish scholar and the chief rabbi in Rome from 1940 to 1945. A friend of Pope Pius XII, he converted from Judaism to Catholicism in 1945.


Heart, Soul and Mind

Monsignor Royal's weekly column as featured in our bulletin.


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