The House at Ephesus
by Paula J. Sandlak
I am happy to tell my story, I hope it brings people to the faith and opens up their hearts to listen to God's call for them.
My parents are military, so I traveled. They were Methodist but became sort of nondescript Protestants. I was about 20 or 21 when my dad was stationed in Turkey. Turkey is a very interesting place. It is the home of the Trojan Horse, has lots of ruins, and a very special place called Ephesus.
Some may have heard about it, some may not. It is reported to be the last home of the Blessed Mother. The place where the disciple John took her after the death and Resurrection of Jesus. It is the house that was "seen" in a vision by a German nun named Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich. She wrote a book entitled: The Life Of Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations.
We were on vacation when we visited Ephesus, just seeing the sights. I had been thinking about conversion for a long time, but hadn't really gotten anywhere. When we visited this house, I, like hundreds of other tourists, went into the home. It is a plain stone structure with dirt floors. There was a small altar and kneeler there, so I knelt down to pray.
Suddenly, I heard an interior voice say, "Now is the time." I thought someone was telling me it was time to go, but I looked around and no one was there. It was very subtle, kind of like being encased in a sound-proof bubble. I was staring at the statue of Our Lady and the same silence came and the same voice,"Now is the time"
I went out, we left and finished out vacation. We went home. But all the while, it nagged at me. After several weeks, I finally said to my mother, "What would you think?" She completed the thought,"If you became Catholic?"
It was downright eerie. I ask her how she knew what I was going to say, and she told me that from the moment I came out of the house at Ephesus I seemed at total peace. She had already set up an appointment with me with the Priest on the base. He was great and very helpful and welcoming. He said to me "I think that Our Lady was as direct with you as she could be without hitting you on the head with the Bible."
We started instruction that afternoon. I know the good Father was exhausted because I had so many questions. Very patient. He gave me my first rosary and said, "This is the most powerful weapon of the church." I said, "what do I do with it?" Realizing I had no idea what it was for, he patiently taught me. Everyone should have a priest like that!
I went back to school in Colorado. I found a parish there and took up instruction. Since at that time there was no RCIA, I was on my own. I took instruction for about 4 months and then, I was conditionally baptized,(I was already baptized Methodist), received confession, and first communion all in the same day. It was glorious!
Four more years went by before I was confirmed in Florida. I had strayed for a couple of years when I went to college, but the Lord waited for me patiently to come back and I did with great zest. I have been since then dedicated to serving Him and my family.
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