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Serving as a Protestant missionary in Cambodia, Casey Allison never dreamed she would become Catholic. But God had an incredible plan for her life, and during a pivotal time of heartbreak and suffering, he led her home to the Catholic Church.
Ironically, she first began studying Catholicism in an effort to bring a friend back into Protestantism after the friend became Catholic. “I truly believed Adoration was idolatry when I first began studying Catholicism,” she recalled in an interview with Aleteia.
Even more ironically, the moment that changed her life came in Eucharistic Adoration. Allison had been studying and reading about Catholicism for some time and was trying to decide if she should convert, but many things were holding her back.
In the midst of many crises
“I was still very much on the fence about becoming Catholic,” she said. “There were so many emotional blocks to the process for me as I navigated losing my dream of being a lifelong missionary in Cambodia, worrying over the fact that I had seven children that I could be leading astray, and drowning in all the hang-ups I had around specific Catholic devotional practices.”
On top of that, her marriage was in crisis as her husband struggled with a pornography addiction. “My husband had struggled with sexual addiction for many, many years,” she said. “The suffering of repeated betrayal and dishonesty in my relationship weighed heavily on my heart.”
She longed to pour her heart out to God, so one day in 2018, nine years into her time in Cambodia, she went out looking for a quiet place to pray in Phnom Penh. By chance, she found herself at Child Jesus Catholic Church, as none of the nearby Protestant churches were open at that time. She was amazed by what she saw, saying,
Before the Tabernacle
There were a few sweet Cambodian students in their blue-and-white uniforms sitting on the floor with their hands folded in prayer, the same stance they would use if they were meeting the king of their country. Periodically, one would touch their forehead to the ground for several moments in reverence. I decided to sit in this traditional way as well. As I lifted my eyes to the altar, my gaze rose higher to the crucifix with Our Savior’s beautiful body hanging for me, for us all, above the open wooden doors of the Tabernacle. What love!
She began to think and pray about her husband and her marriage. How could they navigate the obstacles in their path? She brought her great sorrow to Jesus, and amazingly, she felt spiritual healing from the Eucharist:
My eyes traveled back down to the altar and there, so clear in my mind’s eye, I was wrapped up in the Arms of Jesus both of us in tears. I knew I could bring all of my suffering to the altar of His suffering. I knew He grieved with me. He was so very Present with us in that silent room.
Knowing God’s presence
Suddenly she knew that God was present here, in the Catholic Church, and most of all in the Blessed Sacrament.
The God I had always known and loved was palpably in that room, and it was in that moment crying with my Friend of friends over the deepest pain I had experienced in my lifetime, that I knew it was time to come Home.
She went on to convert with the help of the Coming Home Network, and God brought incredible healing to her marriage.
Her husband was able to find healing from his addiction and today he is a Catholic therapist. Allison herself also was able to use this time of suffering to help others, as now she works as a Catholic Betrayal Trauma Specialist. Today they have nine children and make their home in Huntsville, Alabama.
Perhaps her story is not what you’d typically think of as a miracle, but the way God worked in her life and in her marriage feels miraculous to Allison and her family. Scripture promises us that “Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37), and Allison’s encounter with Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and the fruits that came from it reveal God’s power and goodness.