a modern-day story of Monica and Augustine

This weekend, I watched a DVD given to me by a friend entitled No Turning Back: Confessions of a Catholic Priest. It’s the amazing story of a young man named Donald Calloway who grew up without religion and in a very dysfunctional home. As he led a rebellious, dangerous life in his teenage years with deeper and deeper forays into crime, sex and drugs, his family became Catholic and his mother never stopped praying for him, inspired by the example of St. Monica. He had a massive conversion around the age of twenty and a year later was entering studies for priesthood with the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. He was ordained in 2003 and tells his story in this amazing video. It’s truly an Augustine-like story. He was passionate about sin, and then turned all of that passion and intensity toward his faith and service as a Catholic priest. Hearing him describe what he experienced when he first attended a Catholic Mass gave me a new appreciation for what happens in the celebration of the Eucharist.

On the eve of the memorial of St. Augustine (and the day on which we normally would celebrate the memorial of St. Monica), I recommend this video to anyone.

For many of us, we take up the call to holiness by half-measures. We make pious resolutions and practice our faith with a respectable mediocrity. It’s inspiring and challenging to see someone whose response is total, with the totality we see in the saints. Hopefully stories like this will help spur us on to a more thorough response to the gift of grace.

Note: A book by the same name is available on Fr. Calloway’s website.

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