Every year, thousands celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. Most people spend the special Sunday with their family, friends and a faith that they’re familiar with or have grown up with. For South Alabama student Kayli Ramey, this Easter Sunday was celebrated with her new faith.
On Saturday, March 26, Ramey officially converted to the Catholicism. After almost two years, Ramey celebrated her first Easter as a Catholic. Her journey to the Catholic faith has been both a spiritual and enlightening journey.
Ramey was raised in the Southern Baptist Church, but in her teens she followed her mother to the nondenominational faith. Ramey made the decision to convert to Catholicism around the age of 19. She was initially encouraged to attend Mass by her boyfriend at the time. “I went because he just wanted me to try it out and I really loved it. I just fell in love, and everything that the Church believes in or stands for is exactly what I believe in and stand for. It was a perfect fit,” Ramey said.
Ramey expressed a love for the tradition and the authenticity of the Catholic Church. “The Catholic faith has been the same for over 2,000 years. Nothing changes and there’s a reason for everything they do. Everything is backed up by scriptures and apostolic teachings, so to me it’s a lot of truth.”
The conversion process usually takes a year and involves a series of classes that teach Church history, beliefs and rites. Because of school and work, Ramey’s process took about a year and a half. Her dedication to the faith has had a positive effect on her life, but she has faced some disapproval from those close to her. “At first they were all really upset about it, but my mom is being very supportive now, the rest of my family not so much,” Ramey said. She explained the difficulties that she has faced through the process.
“A lot of people don’t understand what the Church stands for. The most difficult part for me are probably misconceptions that other people have about the Church because it really hurt whenever friends and family found out I was going through this process and converting…they just kind of shot me down,” Ramey said.
But of course with dark there comes light. Ramey believes she has changed for the better and made lifelong friends in the process. “I have met a lot of really great people who hold me accountable for a lot of things. The Church really encourages me to be a better person and empowered me. I am just a completely different person now than I was when I came to the Church.”
Currently, Ramey attends Sacred Heart of Jesus, and she is a member of the Catholic Student Association. She has already received the Sacrament of Reconciliation. For some, confession can be a bit intimidating. Confessing your most personal sins to God through the priest isn’t anything to take lightly, but Ramey focuses on positive outcomes of Reconciliation.
“Before I came into the Church I was struggling with a lot of things…I’d just made a lot of really wrong decisions, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation for me…it just allowed me to lift off all of my burden and all of the things I’d done and put them behind me and be reconciled back to God. It was a really great experience,” Ramey said.
On Saturday, Ramey received the sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation at Sacred Heart. The Sacrament of Confirmation requires that you chose a saint to represent you. This saint should be someone you aspire to be like. Ramey, an education major, chose St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, who was a teacher and a humanitarian. “She just really spoke to me,” Ramey explained her reason for picking her.
Although Ramey is no longer with the man who first introduced her to the Catholic faith, she’s still grateful for the role he played in her life. “I think that God works in mysterious ways and one of those things he did was bring me to this person who really helped me get on the right track.”