DeVine said the very first night of the parish mission answered “almost all of my questions” about Catholicism. Still, they decided to return for a second night.
During that second session, DeVine got up from the pew to stretch her legs and walk out some of her pregnancy discomfort.
“(A) little old man in the back of the church stopped me to ask when I was due,” she said. “I told him, ‘Not for seven weeks,’ and he said, ‘Oh, no, that’s not right, you’re having that baby any day now.”’
DeVine returned to her pew and shared his prediction, laughing about it with her husband. She joked that “maybe we should take him at his word since we are in a Catholic church, and they do seem to know their pregnant women.”
By the end of that second night, DeVine said, “All of my questions were answered. It was as if that little priest who came to preach was actually speaking directly to our family. Every single question. Everything we were wrestling with.”
As it turned out, they wouldn’t have been able to return for that third night anyway, because Allison went into labor that night and their tiny son was born the next morning - seven weeks early, but “perfectly healthy, defying every odd.”
“We had a priest come and bless him that night, at the hospital, and we looked at each other and said, ‘Well, I guess we’re in the Catholic Church now.’”
DeVine joked that “my husband read his way into the Church, but I birthed my way in.”
The DeVines started regularly attending Mass once their son was discharged from the hospital. They enrolled in RCIA, and they formally entered the Catholic Church this past Easter, in April of 2019.
The switch to Catholicism had its rocky moments, including the loss of several of the family’s Protestant friends, who disagreed with some social teachings of the Catholic Church.
“God has really provided, though, because that core group of women, the four of us, we’re still very close, and there is so much respect,” DeVine said.
Becoming Catholic in 2019, however, is not a move for the faint of heart.
DeVine acknowledged that while she and Jason were aware of the scandals in the Church surrounding the former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and other serious abuse allegations against prelates at various levels in the hierarchy, they “weren’t fazed by it.”
“When you work in the church as I did, in various Christian denominations all my life, you already know about everything that goes on behind closed doors,” she said. “Nothing shocked us. The difference is, though, these other churches aren’t big enough, aren’t institutionally organized in the same way. So some of them may break news for about five minutes, but nothing seems to capture the headlines the way Catholic scandals do,” she added.
“It’s actually amazing to me, because Jesus says ‘you will be persecuted for my sake,’ and we can see that in the way the Catholic Church is constantly in the news, constantly under media scrutiny. For us it was truly a mark that this was the true Church,” DeVine said.
“Every one of us are sinners, we all have our issues,” said DeVine. “He [Jesus] is the only one of us that’s perfect.”
The DeVine’s chose Sts. Gianna and Simon the Zealot, respectively, as their confirmation saints. As a mother herself who experienced complications in her first pregnancy, DeVine feels very close to St. Gianna. Inspired by their pro-life convictions, the DeVines have also founded a nonprofit to benefit the unborn, called the The Bespoke Foundation.
“We’re not good at going down and sitting in front of abortion clinics and talking to people, but we can sure raise money. So we started a foundation to benefit the crisis pregnancy clinics around the greater Atlanta area.”
DeVine cited the rosary, the Eucharist, and the reality of there being “church everywhere, always, anywhere we go in the world” as some of the biggest gifts of becoming Catholic.
And Allison’s friend, the other Allison? She is now the godmother to one of the DeVine’s children.
“God had all the details worked out ahead of time. He really thought of everything, it really is amazing.”
Allison’s husband, Jason, blogged about the family’s journey into Catholicism at his blog, www.397totheLamb.com.