Now available from Ignatius Press:
by Sally Read
Hardcover, 147 pages
A beautifully written story about a British poet's conversion from staunch atheism to devout Catholicism, all in the space of nine electric months. In Spring of 2010 Sally Read was heralded as one of the bright young writers of the British poetry scene. Feminist, atheist and deeply anti-Catholic, she was writing a book about women's reproduction and sexuality when, during her research, she spoke with a Catholic priest. That mysterious encounter led Sally on a dramatic journey of spiritual quest and discovery which ended up at the Vatican itself, where she was received into the Catholic Church in December of that year.
This story of her conversion is one that, unsurprisingly, has the vivid flavor and beauty of poetry. Read relates her encounters with the Father, the Spirit and then the Son, exactly in the way they were given to her—timely, revelatory and compelling. These transforming events throw new light onto the experiences of her past—her father's death, her work as a psychiatric nurse, her life as a single woman in London, as a mother and as a writer. She reveals how she developed a close intimacy with the new love that erupted into her life, Christ himself, and how she comes to accept and embrace a doctrine she had previously rejected as bigoted and stifling.
Read confronts head on the burning question for God that every true Christian harbors: "What do you want me to do?" In an age of increasing secularism, and in the wake of disillusionment with the Catholic Church following disclosures of abuse, the book takes us to the core of what the Church is all about: Christ and the yearning to be near him.
Read's book captures the ecstasy of first knowing God's love and charts how it changes us. It takes the massive energy that was given her during those nine initial months of conversion and crystallizes it so others can taste it. It is a testimony to the powerhouse of Christianity: love and the life-changing encounter with Christ.
Sally Read is the author of three books of poetry published by Bloodaxe Books. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of South Dakota. Sally is poet in residence of the Hermitage of the Three Holy Hierarchs, and lives near Rome. She is a fellow of the Institute of Creative and Critical Writing at Birmingham City University, UK.
"Permeated with brutal honesty and deep love, this is a profoundly moving spiritual autobiography of a born and bred atheist who converted to the Catholic Faith; a faith which she states is 'the only solution to the human condition.' Certain to be thought provoking and edifying for skeptics and convinced Catholics alike."
— Roy Schoeman, Author, Salvation Is From the Jews
"Sally Read's story is the best and liveliest account of a conversion for a generation. It is a story of divine grace as moving and unexpected as it is luminous and profound. There is not a wasted brush-stroke, not a blurred line. It is an absorbing story, a tale that will grip readers all the way through to the end."
—Paul Murray, OP, Angelicum University; Author, T.S. Eliot and Mysticism
"Warning: Don't start reading this book unless you intend to finish it. I started the first page, and was completely captured until the end. Not only is Sally Read's story gripping, but the words flow and permeate like the early morning sunbeams over a pleasant misty valley. An engrossing story of joyful discoveries for a modern world."
—Steven K. Ray, Author, Crossing the Tiber
"Sally Read brings to her memoir a poet's sensitivity to language, imagery, and emotion. Her vivid, evocative scenes of life in Rome, London, and elsewhere help to show that conversion involves the whole of a person: intellect, emotions, relationships. This well-written account will be of interest to skeptics and believers alike."
—Holly Ordway, Ph.D., Author, Not God's Type
"Every story of conversion has the potential of conceiving another. Each give's witness to the work of grace. In this brilliantly written, candid, sometimes shocking unveiling by Sally Read, we see vividly the fingerprints of the Holy Spirit on a heart once impenetrably hard and shut off, but then opened and reborn by the merciful joy of our Triune God.
—Marcus Grodi, EWTN Host, The Journey Home
"When a poet meets God, beauty becomes incarnate. Sally Read's conversion story reads like a modern Song of Songs - unflinching, gripping and enchanting."
—Marie Cabaud Meaney, Author, Embracing the Cross of Infertility
"It has been said that the greatest love story is that of a soul who falls in love with God. Sally Read's conversion dramatically story proves that theory. Her story will make you appreciate your own faith and love for Christ and his Church."
—Terry Barber, Author, How to Share Your Faith with Anyone