Carol Nevin teaches Dental Therapy and Hygiene at Curtin University. Brought up an Anglican, she was attracted to the Catholicism because she “just knew that there was something there”. This is her story, as told to Debbie Warrier.
I feel I have always had a Catholic faith, though I was brought up an Anglican. My mother was an Anglican, though non-practicing. My father is a non-believer of anything. But I was attracted to the Church because I just knew that there was something there. I knew that there was God.
I married a Catholic, though that had nothing to do with my conversion. My husband Patrick comes from a small village in Ireland and is one of nine children. There’s no faith other than Catholicism according to them. Patrick never attempted to convert me but he attended Mass and I used to attend with him on most Sundays. I had done so since we were married.
We now have three children: Gemma (18), Kate (17) and Kieran (14). When my eldest daughter had her First Holy Communion I thought, “This is ridiculous. I go to Mass regularly but I can’t take Communion.”
I decided I wanted to become Catholic because it was part of being a part of my family. So I contacted my parish priest, Father Ken Keating, and he arranged for me to take part in the RCIA.
The whole thing about Communion is that closeness. You’re sharing the Body and Blood of Christ. If you can’t take Communion you can be at Mass but it’s like you can’t take that last step. Communion is like the pinnacle of the Mass.
When I was living in Alice Springs I met a young Indian woman who was a dentist. I spoke to her a few times. She was Catholic and went to India to work amongst the poor. It was so sad because she died. She got toxic shock or something. I really respected the way she had lived out her faith. You can’t exist without faith. Everyone’s life has obstacles. For instance, my father has bowel cancer at the moment. Faith gives you that inner strength.
I have Catholic and non-Catholic friends. I look at families that have been brought up with Catholicism and there is an extremely strong bond there. I admire their faith. The sense of community is another thing that is appealing. You get to know people and there’s a sense that if ever you needed it there would be support there.
We call our children the “parasites”. That’s our little nickname for them! I work full time so they can afford to go to Catholic schools. They go to Sacred Heart College. It’s beautiful actually. They get all these fantastic opportunities. For instance, both my girls have been to the Vietnam Mission Immersion Experience. Kate’s been on the music tour and all my children are doing music. Gemma was the Liturgy captain last year. Now she’s doing physiotherapy at Notre Dame University.
I’m doing a Bachelor of Science and Health promotion. I did a unit in mental health and spirituality was included in it. The World Health Organisation defines health as physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. It’s actually documented that families and communities with faith have better health outcomes. Mental illness is really prevalent in our society and it’s increasing at such a major rate. I just think if people had faith that would be cut in half.