.- For San Francisco publisher Denise Carrigg, every day is an opportunity to grow deeper into the mystery of God. But it wasn’t always this way. She shared her story of faith and conversion with the San Francisco Gate recently. Carrigg grew up in a strict Catholic home — her family even lived in Fatima to be close to the Marian pilgrimage site for three years — but she became an atheist in college.
“I became convinced that God wasn't real,” she told the newspaper. Still, she remained interested in the great existential questions about the meaning of life.
But things changed when she was 21. She said she had a conversion based on a mystical experience in Paris that made her realize that God actually existed. It was during a period that she describes as her “deepest existential loneliness,” that she felt God had reached out to her personally.
“I felt like I experienced God's presence then, and I had the realization that everything I had been taught as a kid was true,” she told the San Francisco Gate.
This, however, did not lead her back to the Catholic Church, but on a three-year journey in Buddhism.
She said she was only convinced to return to the Catholic Church because she had learned that psychoanalyst Carl Jung had advised lapsed Catholics to return to the Church if they could “because all of the elements were in place in Catholicism in terms of helping bridge the relationship between the conscious and the unconscious worlds.”
She had also read a book about someone who had lived a faith journey similar to hers and who had eventually converted to Catholicism. Finally, she attended a mass, celebrated in Latin, and was moved by the love the priest expressed for the liturgy.
Now, Carrigg’s understanding of God is as a benevolent, “permeating, loving, intelligent spirit.” She said her desire is to always penetrate deeper into the mystery of the Catholic faith, attending mass every Sunday and sometimes during the week if her work schedule permits.
Since her conversion in 1989, Carrigg has also decided to live as a celibate. She said she does not feel drawn to monastic life because she is convinced that she is called to contribute her gifts and talents in the world.
Through her faith, Carrigg said she has come to a deeper understanding of the meaning of her life, and a “deeper sense of integration and peace.”
“I feel like I am honoring God by living as authentically as I can,” she said.