Mother Angelica's words struck a chord with Darrow that day, and he found himself secretively snatching glimpses of her episodes every chance he got.
Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation, foundress of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), passed away on March 27, 2016 after a lengthy struggle with the aftereffects of a stroke. She was 92 years old.
“She really had…a huge influence on my life, and I learned to love her,” he said, “but at the same time, I had to hide her.”
“So when I turned off the TV, I would always change the channel so that when Jeff or whoever was watching that TV came in, they would never see that I was watching Mother Angelica. And it reminded me as I was doing this of when I used to turn the channel when I was watching porn because I didn't want Jeff or anyone else to see a porn station come up.”
Eventually, Mother Angelica's influence convinced Darrow to go back to church after decades of absence. It was a move that made Darrow very wary; he was sure he would lose friends and clients if they saw him going into a Catholic Church.
And in some ways, he was right.
“I lost clients, I lost friends,” he told CNA in a 2014 interview, at the premiere of the documentary.
“People were in shock that an educated, relatively intelligent man could believe in Jesus Christ. These were the few friends that were aware that I was back in the Church.”
But it's a move that he’s never regretted. Since his conversion, Darrow has shared his experience through talks and conferences. Mother Angelica also led Darrow to discover Courage International, the
Vatican-approved apostolate that reaches out to Catholics with same-sex attraction with the goals of growing closer to God, engaging in supportive friendships, and learning to live full lives within the call to chastity.
It was through Courage International that Darrow became involved with the film “Desire of the Everlasting Hills,” which he saw as a chance to share his story and to give others the same hope that he found in the Catholic Church.
“I was not discriminated against at the beginning of my journey back to the Catholic Church, I was never told that I was a bad person, that I was doing something wrong, even in confession,” he said.
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“The Catholic Church really is, according to its teachings, open to everybody.”
Darrow said he felt he owed it to God to share his story through courage and through the film because of all that God had done in his life.
“I wanted to express my love to God and my appreciation for all that He has done for me,” Darrow said, “that He had never forgotten me during the decades that I had forgotten him or turned against him.”
The full documentary is available for free online at: https://everlastinghills.org/movie/
This article was originally published March 29, 2016.