Converting the Turk

I was once asked to help a Turkish woman whom I will call Mrs. T. She was expecting her first child and was struggling financially, since she and her husband were both students. Because she had no money for baby clothes or supplies, I arranged a baby shower for her and visited her several times after her baby was born to make sure things were going well.

When the baby was a few months old, Mrs. T’s in-laws visited from Turkey. Her father-in-law said, “I want to meet the Catholic lady who helped my daughter-in-law.” When he met me, I felt moved to give him a beautifully illustrated children’s bible that I had just bought for myself. He understood English well enough to read and understand the stories. Afterward, he asked to attend a Catholic Mass with me.

After Mass, he announced, “I’m going to become Catholic. When I return to Turkey, I will go to the Catholic church in my town and get instruction.” When he told me the name of the town and the church, I discovered it was one of the churches founded by St. Paul.

St. Paul is my patron saint and I believe he interceded in the conversion of that Turkish man. I took “Paul” as my confirmation name since, like St. Paul, I was once such a persecutor of Jesus.

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