The Conversion Process – “Stirrings”

Monarch emergingThe New Evangelization is a renewed invitation to conversion. Unfortunately, conversion is a word that is often misunderstood. We tend to think of conversion as either the changing from one Christian denomiation to another or a dramatic bolt of lightning in which we hear God’s voice loud and clear, calling us to a major change in life.  As a result of these rather limited understandings, most people don’t feel that they have experienced, are, experiencing, or will be experiencing conversion any time soon.

That’s unfortunate because conversion is what happens to us any time we need to gain new insight in order to respond to one of life’s new challenges. Our lives are filled with conversion moments. These moments arise when we experience a “stirring” – something has come along to disturb our complacency. The disturbance can be profound or subtle and it can be positive or negative. Either way, we find ourselves faced with responding to new circumstances while at the same time realizing that we are ill-equipped to do so.

With that in mind, I wonder if you will help me compile a list of moments in our lives when such stirrings occur? What are typical “disturbances” that place us on the doorstep of conversion? I’ll get us started:

  • loss of a job
  • start of a new job
  • engagement
  • marriage
  • becoming a parent
  • loss of a loved one
  • facing sickness

Get the idea? Please add your thoughts below in the “Leave a Reply” feature so that we can spread the word that opportunities for conversion are all around us!

[photo courtesy of aussiegall via Compfight]

About Joe Paprocki 2741 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

11 Comments on The Conversion Process – “Stirrings”

  1. several other stirrings:
    retirement … for yourself and for your spouse
    chlld/spouse/friend sent to war zone
    child moves away from home to college or another state
    aging parent

  2. encountering a truly holy person
    hitting rock bottom
    visiting a sacred place
    visiting places of great natural beauty
    divorce or breakup
    facing failure (in work, relationships, etc)
    listening to music / viewing beautiful artwork
    watching other people pray

  3. When I catch myself in a sin, especially one with which I’ve been struggling for some time, I pray for “conversion” of my heart — a new perspective and reaction-pattern that comes from the deepest, truest part of me versus a band-aid fix.

  4. Hi Joe. Here is a third- or fourth-hand list. On, I quoted Fr. Tony Krisak who quoted Fr. Ron Rolheiser as saying that human beings have essential longings. For example:


    Krisak says that when we are first asking someone to turn to Christ, we are not asking them to assent to Catholic doctrine. We are asking them to consider that Jesus is the answer to what they are longing for.

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