Night's Bright Darkness: A Modern Conversion Story

by Sally Read

Hardcover, 2016



Call number

248.246 REA



Call number

248.246 REA




A beautifully written story about a British poet's conversion from staunch atheism to devout Catholicism, all in the space of nine electric months. In Spring of 2010 Sally Read was heralded as one of the bright young writers of the British poetry scene. Feminist, atheist and deeply anti-Catholic, she was writing a book about women's reproduction and sexuality when, during her research, she spoke with a Catholic priest. That mysterious encounter led Sally on a dramatic journey of spiritual quest and discovery which ended up at the Vatican itself, where she was received into the Catholic Church in December of that year. This story of her conversion is one that, unsurprisingly, has the vivid flavor and beauty of poetry. Read relates her encounters with the Father, the Spirit and then the Son, exactly in the way they were given to her--timely, revelatory and compelling. These transforming events throw new light onto the experiences of her past--her father's death, her work as a psychiatric nurse, her life as a single woman in London, as a mother and as a writer. She reveals how she developed a close intimacy with the new love that erupted into her life, Christ himself, and how she comes to accept and embrace a doctrine she had previously rejected as bigoted and stifling. Read confronts head on the burning question for God that every true Christian harbors: "What do you want me to do?" In an age of increasing secularism, and in the wake of disillusionment with the Catholic Church following disclosures of abuse, the book takes us to the core of what the Church is all about: Christ and the yearning to be near him. Read's book captures the ecstasy of first knowing God's love and charts how it changes us. It takes the massive energy that was given her during those nine initial months of conversion and crystallizes it so others can taste it. It is a testimony to the powerhouse of Christianity: love and the life-changing encounter with Christ.… (more)


Ignatius Press (2016), Edition: Sew, 152 pages


1621641511 / 9781621641513


(1 rating; 4)

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Night’s Bright Darkness: a Modern Conversion Story. Sally Read. 2018. Read, a promising young feminist, British poet, has written a good conversion story. She grew up in an atheistic family and had no interest in God or in any form of religion. When her daughter was three, she decided she’d write a non-fiction book and decided to collaborate with a physician friend of hers on a book about the vagina. One of her tasks was to interview all types of women: gay, straight, Muslin, Christian, etc. In an effort to meet a nun to interview, she contacted a friend of a friend, a Canadian Byzantine-rite priest who had been exiled from the Ukraine. They began an email correspondence. Read’s anger and hostility at the Catholic Church didn’t seem to bother Father Gregory, and they discussed all manner of issues with the Church. The more they emailed and talked about God, the more restless and unsettled Read became. She attended a baptism in St. Peter’s Basilica and could not reconcile the beauty she saw there with the horror of the priest abuse scandal. Her atheism and hatred of all things Christian was at its peak, but her ability to write anything was gone. In desperation she turned to Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle, a book she’d always found some comfort in. In it she read the vicar’s comments about God, and this was the turning point, the moment she began to get a glimpse of God. From there she began to talk to Fr. Gregory, read books he suggested, and eventually be baptized into the Roman Catholic Church.… (more)


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