Estabine’s parents raised her in different Protestant churches and read the Bible. She always felt she wanted to “have higher-level discussions” with peers about faith but struggled to find someone who would engage with her.
“I pulled back a little bit into myself and wasn’t as on fire about it as I had been before,” Estabine said.
After getting accepted to Harvard University, historically one of the most prestigious colleges in the world, Estabine began dealing with crippling depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts her freshman year during the COVID-19 pandemic. She tried everything from dieting to therapy, but nothing was curing her from the negative thoughts, a condition she has dealt with from a young age that exacerbated in college.
Intensely suffering, she turned to the faith that she always knew for healing. She decided that her last hope was to take a deep dive into her faith and finally read the Bible cover to cover. She told God in prayer: “I’m going to read this, and if by the time I’m done I can’t find a reason to stay here, then I can’t do it anymore.”
It took her a year, but she did it. And she was healed.
“As I began reading it, and as I began basically pouring out my entire self to God and just laying my life at his feet, he healed me completely of all my depression and anxiety. And so I just owe it to him as a miracle,” she said.
‘He was calling me’
Convicted in her faith and surrounded by close Christian friends, Estabine began engaging in “quite heated” debates with a Catholic friend about theology.
As she began to more deeply realize that objective truth must exist, she knew that “not everybody can be correct.”
Her Catholic friend would often send her links to videos and articles about the Catholic faith, which Estabine would ignore much of the time.
But during a service trip she took to Canada, Estabine had a significant amount of time alone. Her Catholic friend sent her a video on the Eucharist, and she finally watched it.
(Story continues below)
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She found the argument for the real presence convincing but wasn’t quite ready to accept it.
As she continued to grapple with the arguments for Catholicism, she had a peculiar dream the summer going into her junior year that she said was “important” for her conversion.
The dream was “dark” and “scary,” like a nightmare. In the dream, she was at a school, and there was “darkness” inside, while the windows were foggy.
She tried to write “God” on a foggy window but couldn’t for some reason. In the dream, she also tried to cast the darkness away but couldn’t.
She remembers seeing a Catholic priest, who “spoke to the darkness,” and “it responded in a way that it was not responding to me when I was trying to cast it out.”
This dream fueled Estabine’s spiritual journey to find more answers. As she continued her search for truth, she spent time in various Catholic churches and ultimately came to the conclusion that she was being drawn to Catholicism.