Sunday, September 19, 2010

Convert Saints

Venerable (Blessed as of tomorrow) John Henry Newman is a hero of mine, perhaps, you might say, for obvious reasons. But in fact, he has had a special place in my life since I was a Lutheran seminarian, long before I followed his example and converted to Catholicism. So I am rather looking forward to tomorrow. The girls and I have already added JHN to our little bed-time litany of the saints, along with St Joseph and St Michael (my patrons), St Bernadette (their school patroness), and Blessed (soon Saint) Mary of the Cross.

But I was wondering this morning about "Convert Saints", by which I mean converts from other Christian traditions, saints who were baptised already before becoming Catholic. I know that there have been many from other religions, notably St Edith Stein and St Josephine Bakhita (I don't think St Paul or the other apostles count - they were not so much converted from Judaism - which was not a separate religion from Christianity at the time - as to a new sect within Judaism). St Augustine was a convert from Manicheanism, but that that wasn't really a form of Christianity.

A check on the internet gave me St. John Ogilvie (born into a Scottish Calvinist family in 1579), St Henry Morse (an English Protestant born in 1595) and St Elizabeth Ann Seton (born as an Episcopalian in 1774). Have there been any others than anyone knows about?


At Sunday, September 19, 2010 3:09:00 am , Anonymous Alfredo Watkins said...

I think Saint Francis de Sales might sort of count, since he converted to Calvinism for a time, I believe. Also, Saints John Roberts and Hugh Green converted from Anglicanism. That's all I can think of right now.

At Sunday, September 19, 2010 6:25:00 pm , Anonymous R. J. Stove said...

Don't forget Saint Edmund Campion, who was originally Anglican.

At Monday, September 20, 2010 4:19:00 am , Anonymous Joshua said...

Not quite a saint, but how about the amazingly-named Angelus Silesius (1624-1677), author of The Cherubimic Wander? He was baptized Johann Schleffer, and was a very pious Lutheran poet and mystic who converted to Catholicism in 1652, taking the above new name; "Silas", as he was also nicknamed, then published books of hymns (Heilige Seelenlust) and mystical sayings (mentioned above); he became a priest in 1661, and spent his inheritance on the care of orphans.

At Monday, September 20, 2010 4:30:00 am , Anonymous Schütz said...

Where do you find these guys, Josh?

At Monday, September 20, 2010 4:30:00 am , Anonymous Schütz said...

Thanks for this, Josh. Another one to add to the litany of Convert Saints!

At Monday, September 20, 2010 4:35:00 am , Anonymous Schütz said...

Of course!

At Monday, September 20, 2010 4:44:00 am , Anonymous Schütz said...

Thanks, Josh. I think the former comment needed moderation because it had links in it. Wordpress sometimes is overcautious!


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