Last year on my 64th birthday, I set about creating a goal for my upcoming 65th. At 40 I learned to swim, 60 learned to read music and play violin, etc. I grew up and was educated entirely in Catholic schools (including a stint in the convent) endingwith college degrees in art and philosophy. I had always questioned faith and never sincerely had a belief in God. As president of the honor society in high school with exceptional grades, I received a D- for a paper I wrote entitled “Is there a Hell?”. In college, I pursued the study of philosophy in the hopes of finding some answers; hard to expect especially when taught by a priest who was after my virginity! I found recently that even though I reported his behavior he is still a priest, along with a priest who abused me and my sister in youth. He is now a monsignor!Neither here nor there, I married in the church, baptized my 2 children and thus ended my participation in organized religion at about age 26. However, up until my birthday last November, I prayed the rosary, prayer to St. Jude in times of need etc. I was curious about the history of religion and how it evolved, the threat of Islam, the Rapture phenomenon and felt the need to lessen my ignorance. I decided that at this time in my life I have time, interest and resources at my fingertips to pursue my doubts and find some answers. I came upon Karen Armstrong first finding similar background in the convent and uncertainties of my faith. My wonderful 3rd husband, of 18 yearsalso came withCatholic upbringing.He and I have read most of what Armstrong has written. Of course, you and your other ‘new athiests’ are referenced in her writings. Thus was picqued my interest in your ‘mission’ as it were. I have listened or watched about everything available via the net that has involved any or all of the 4 of you….I just finished Harris “Letter to a Christian Nation” and have ordered some of your books as well as others. I shared all my discoveries with my only sister over the phone as well as with my 2 brothers. We are separated by great distances. I buried my oldest daughter, and two grandsons under age 3 in 1993, and now on Monday past, my younger sister unexpectedly died. What have I done I thought! I’ve KILLED GOD! After processing all this and thinking long and hard over these few days, I have discovered that for the first time in my life I am free from the strait-jacket of superstitious beliefsof my past. Most specifically, when notified of my sister’s death I immediately felt guilt for not having prayed more rosaries for her, not begging St. Jude for the proper equation of requests, etc. My parents, my daughter, my grandsons and my sister are gone! Period! I have felt always the sense that theirenergy is still occupying space on this earth. I’ve never been tied to a tombstone. I have been determined to live life for them because I am willing and capable of so doing. You cannot imagine what a burden has been lifted from me. I have you and your hard work in bringing about truth and awareness to thank as well as your bravery in taking such chances. You are all to be commended for your learned expertise and sharing it with the world. You have converted not only me, but my husband, my remaining daughter, her husband and 3 sons to add to your positive effect of your efforts.
I thank you kind sir!
Yours truly, Si Tate