In this episode, Lorissa shares her conversion story and how our Blessed Mother played a significant role in leading her to Jesus. 

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Hello, my friends. Welcome to episode 50 of made for greatness. I am your host today. Lorissa Horn and I am so happy you are here. And I just want to say it’s our 50th episode. It’s so cool. I can, it just feels like a blink of an eye. When we were doing episode one, here we are in episode 50. I can’t wait until we get to a hundred and I just feel so blessed that Sterling and I have this opportunity to connect with you every single week. And hopefully these episodes have been life giving to you in one way or another. I’m really excited about today’s episode. I’m going to be talking to you about our Blessed Mother, which is like, she’s always very near and dear to my heart, as I’m sure she is for, for you as well. Most people that are probably listening to this have a relationship with our blessed and mother.

 

And so I’m going to just kind of be sharing today a little bit about how she has impacted my life, how she has impacted my relationship with her son, which is what she is so good at doing. And I want to just share a little bit about my own conversion story because she played a big, really big part in it. So for me, I grew up in a Catholic family. We went to Mass every Sunday. I received my sacraments, all of that, but when I got to junior high middle school age, I really started to feel like most teenagers do that. Mass is boring, totally irrelevant, and pretty much a waste of time. At that point in my life. I just wanted to hang out with my friends. I wanted to sleep in on the weekends and mass, I just felt like was really inconvenient and really got in the way of that.

 

But sure enough, my parents, like we would go every Sunday, but I started to really get resentful of it. And then as I got into, I think it was maybe ninth grade. I really started struggling with what I thought were maybe the church’s teachings. Like I didn’t really understand that you’re just teachings on a lot of topics, particularly around issues of birth control, abortion, things like that. I was at that time, I was a young teenage girl and I was looking really to the world as to like, like trying to discover my identity as a young woman and kind of young woman did. I want to be like, I knew I wanted to be ambitious. I knew I wanted to be successful. I knew that I wanted to do great things with my life, all of that. And so I was kind of just like looking to people in the world for my role models.

 

I was looking into celebrities and politicians and you know, people on, on TV, like who like trying to discover really what were my morals, what were my values? Also, obviously my own personal friendships, my teachers at school, all of those people played a big role in shaping and influencing me. And, and then of course like my own mom and my own close family members as well. But really I remember at this point in my life, very much looking to the world to try to figure out what kind of woman, young woman I wanted to become. And for that reason, the church just felt completely irrelevant to me. I just saw church. I saw the Catholic faith as an institution led by a bunch of old men that, you know, in my mind, the way I perceived it gave really boring homilies. This group of, of presupposed in Rome that really, I just felt had had no relevancy in my life.

 

And at that point I, you know, felt that women should have a right to do what they want to do with their bodies. And I just felt like the church’s teachings were very old-fashioned and really pretty much meaningless to me. And so by the time I got into my sophomore year of high school, my parents signed me up for confirmation classes. And at this point in my life, I was just going to mass completely out of obligation. And because my parents were forcing me to go, that was it. I had no desire to go to mass and I had pretty much determined that once I graduated from high school, I would no longer be Catholic. I would no longer step foot in a church after that, I was just going through the motions, just doing it because it was something my parents wanted. And so you can imagine when they told me that the head signed me up for my confirmation class classes, like how angry I was.

 

And I remember arguing with my mom in the kitchen, like, no, please, mom, no, I do not want to take these classes. And I was adamant. I was like, no way, I am not doing this. I’m not going to get confirmed. I don’t want to be Catholic anymore. Please don’t make me take the classes. I absolutely thought the classes were going to be horrific boring. That I, I was afraid that I wouldn’t know anybody. And I just, I thought it was going to be an absolute, absolutely miserable situation. And so I begged my mom and all she said to me, she’s a lawyer you’ve to talk to your dad. So that night I got the courage up. He was in the living room one evening watching TV. And I walked into the living room, sat down on the couch, asked to talk to him and he turned the TV off and say, yeah, what do you want to talk about?

 

And I said, dad, mom told me that you had signed me up for confirmation classes. And I just wanted to tell you, I don’t want to, I don’t want to go to the classes. I don’t want to be confirmed. And to be really honest with you, as soon as I graduate from high school, I don’t plan on being Catholic anymore. And once I move out, I’m going to stop going to mass. And I remember in this moment, my father, he did not get angry. He looks very calm at me, but I could see a little bit of sadness in his eyes. I think a little bit of sadness mixed with some confusion, because I’m sure that’s not what he was expecting to hear from me. And he basically kind of asked me a couple of questions. We talked through it a little bit, but he said this.

 

He said, Lorissa, this is really important to your mother. And I, and we want to make sure that if you decide that you don’t want to be Catholic anymore, or if you don’t want to be confirmed that you are doing it, like you are making a well-educated choice. So this is what I’m going to, what I’m going to tell you. We want you to take the classes. It’s important that you at least take the classes. And at the end of the classes, if you still don’t want to be confirmed, then we will not force you to get confirmed, but you need to make an educated decision. And I remember feeling really frustrated about that answer, but just out of respect for my dad, I agreed. Even though I really strongly didn’t want to take the classes. That was really what it came down to was I didn’t want to take the classes, but I got up kind of reluctantly.

 

And I started to walk away. I was going to go back into my bedroom and he said, no, he said, can you sit down for just a moment? And so I sat back down on the couch and he got up and he walked into his bedroom and came back with a book. Now this is the Dell. This is what I didn’t know at the time. But at this point, my dad was actually, my dad had been Catholic his whole life, but he was actually going through a pretty profound conversion himself. And it all had to do with our Blessed Mother. And I didn’t know this at the time, but he handed me a book about some apparitions that were happening at the time in Yugoslavia. So our Blessed Mother was appearing to these teenagers and children in Yugoslavia. And he gave me this book and he said, I just finished this book recently.

 

And it really had a big impact on me. And I would like you to read it. And he said, and as you read it, if you want to talk to me about it, just, you know, calm, you can like read it, ask me any questions you want, but let’s talk about this. And I remember in that moment thinking, oh my gosh, he wants me to take these classes. And now he wants me to read a book and talk to him about it. Like, like I remember like feeling so kind of annoyed, but I went into my room, put the book on my bookshelf and kind of forgot about it for a week or two. And then one evening I was kind of bored. Didn’t have a lot going on. And I saw the book on my, on my nightstand and I picked it up.

 

And just more so out of curiosity, I started reading it and instantly within the first few pages I was captivated. The book was a book full of messages of what Mary was saying in these apparitions. But the book was also filled with miracles, miracles of people having con conversions, miracles of people, experiencing healings, spiritual healings, physical healings. There were stories in this book of families who had had, you know, devastating relational like a lot of pain, whether it was a divorce or just families broken apart. And that through like the power of God, those relationships were restored and people were reconciling and in just really profound ways. And I remember that it was like, I read, I read that book in three days. I almost couldn’t put it down. And once I got finished with it, I was just so perplexed. Like I remember thinking to myself, oh my goodness, like, are our miracles really happening in the world today?

 

Like I knew about the miracles that happened in the Bible and during biblical times of Jesus walking on water or Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead or curing a blind man, like I knew that miracles had happened in Jesus’s time. But to be really honest with you, and I know this might sound crazy, but as this 15 year old girl up and up to that point in my life, I had never experienced a miracle, at least one, like, I didn’t know that I had experienced a miracle. Like, I didn’t know that Mary had appeared in places all over the world over the centuries. And that miracles happened around that. Like I had never heard a Fatima or Lords or any of those places. I didn’t know that I really didn’t know much about saints. And I didn’t know that miracles happen to people in our time and day and age, like right now.

 

And it really, really blew me away. This is why now as a mom, as a mother, I think about this often and my husband and I think about it too, is that it’s really important to tell our children’s stories of miracles. And I, you know, my husband, I always share miracles in our youth ministry program. I share miracle stories all the time with my students at the school that I, that I teach at because it’s so important for them to be aware that God is actively working in our lives right now in this moment. And then miracles happen to people that even today, like miracles of healing are happening to people, miracles of conversion, miracles of families, reconciling, and people forgiving other people for tremendous, tremendously painful things. All of that, like I believe all of those types of things are miracles. I believe the saints are interceding for us.

 

And miracles are a bounding as, as a result of that as well. So anyways, I was just blown away. I was like, oh my gosh. And then the other thing that really hit me in from reading this book was the significance of Mary and how much she, like, how much she desired for every soul, every person to know, and to love her son and to be loved by her son that Mary wasn’t about pointing to herself. It wasn’t about the things that she could do. It was about all the ways that she wanted to lead souls to her son. And so I remember after that, the night after I finished reading this book, I remember kneeling down next to my bed and praying the first sincere prayer I had ever prayed in my life up until this point, my prayers, like I treated God like a genie in a bottle like, Hey God, if you’re out there, I could really use some help with this test.

 

Or Hey God, if you’re, if you’re not too busy, could you help me? I’m trying out for cheerleading. Could you help me with that? You know, those types of things, like I really considered God as this, you know, far off distant entity that maybe if you were nice enough or you asked nice enough, or if you were good enough, then maybe he might help you with something. Right. And for me, in a lot of ways, God felt like he was a million miles away floating around somewhere in a galaxy far away. And maybe he cared about me. Maybe he didn’t, I don’t know. Maybe there was bigger and more important things in the world than me. And so I did not have a relationship with God, the father, and I certainly did not have a relationship with Jesus. His son to me, Jesus felt like a historical figure.

 

Somebody that lived 2000 years ago, there was the Bible. There’s these stories, great stories, but I definitely did not have a relationship with him either. And so this one night, I remember just praying this very, very sincere prayer. And I got down on the side of my bed and I knelt and I made the sign of the cross. And I started speaking, talking to our blessed mother. There was something about her that for me as a 15 year old girl, I could just, I could feel like I could relate to her. I could feel, I felt this closeness to her. I felt after reading this book, a motherly connection, or even almost a sisterly connection, like I just felt connected to our bless and mother in a pretty profound way. And this was my prayer. I said, Mary, if your son is for real, and if he loves us the way you say that he does the Mary, please help me to know your son.

 

And then I prayed one hail, Mary and I climbed into bed. And I went to sleep that night. And I, it was like in the moment, it didn’t feel like anything profound. I didn’t feel really a whole lot of anything, but I remember that prayer still to this day, almost 30 years later. It’s just crazy. I can remember it so vividly, but this, the funny thing that over the course of the next few weeks, I had these moments and it’s hard to articulate them. These actual encounters with our Blessed Mother. I didn’t see her. I didn’t hear her, but I felt her presence in a very, very tangible way, so much so that it was almost as if she was walking with me and I could almost feel her put her arm around my shoulder and whisper into my ears. Lorissa, I cannot wait for you to meet my son because he is going to absolutely change your life.

 

Now, what started to happen to me is I started talking to my dad. We started, I was like talking to him about the book and about Mary and even about the rosary, because in these messages, Mary, as she always does throughout history has shared with the people or the children that she has appeared to you, that the importance of praying the rosary. And at this point in my life, I had never prayed the rosary. I didn’t know how to pray the rosary. I remember getting a rosary for my first communion, but I never had prayed it. And so my dad said to me, you know, he said, I’m starting to learn how to pray the rosary too. And he said, would you like me to teach you? And so I said, yes, let’s, you know, I’d like to know. And so he taught me how to pray the rosary.

 

And every once in a while in the evening we would drive down to the church, down the street, the Catholic church, we walk into the, into the sanctuary and pray a rosary together. And I, and I still, again, to this day, that was such a power. Like those were powerful memories for me, with my dad. And then my dad, one day he had this idea, came to him to start a rosary ministry. And he asked me to help him with it. And I was like, yeah, what, what is, what is your idea? And he said, I want to buy a bunch of rosaries, little plastic rosaries, and I’m going to put ads in newspapers and magazines. And just, you know, little as a say, if you want to free rosary, please send a postcard to our address and we’ll send you a free rosary.

 

And I remember when he had this idea, thinking to myself, I wonder if anyone is going to actually read those ads in the back of a magazine, or if they’re going to actually send us a postcard. And I, I kind of was a little bit hesitant. I didn’t, I didn’t really think anybody would actually do it, but sure enough a few weeks went by, we got the rosaries and little rosary booklets and envelopes and all of that. And all of a sudden we started getting postcards in the mail one a day, sometimes two or three a day from people mostly within the United States, but sometimes people outside of the country, Canada, Australia, places like that, that were requesting a free rosary. And so we had an, a little assembly line set up in our garage where we would in the evening, we would package up the rosaries, the rosary booklet, all of that.

 

And we would, you know, I would help put the address on the stamp, all of that. And then we would add the person’s name to a list. And then every evening my dad and I would pray the rosary for all of the people on our lists that had requested rosaries. And I remember thinking, gosh, this is actually really cool. And in this period of time, this was just really a few short months. I started to draw so much closer to Christ. I started to have a relationship with him, and this was the thing that was so powerful as I started to have a prayer life. I not only was I praying the rosary, but I was really praying. And I would have conversations with God. I would pray and ask our Lord for help in my day-to-day life, whether I was at school or with friends or with, with situations, with the relationships in my life.

 

I started to really open my heart up to the fact that God cared about me. And it was as if God came crashing into my world just a few months earlier, God felt like he was a million miles away, but through learning about Mary and learning the rosary and being a part of this rosary ministry with my father, our Lord came like crashing into my world. It was so incredibly profound. And this is the craziest thing in response to growing in a relationship with Christ and having a prayer life and having a relationship with our blessed and mother and being a part of this rosary ministry. It was as though my eyes were suddenly open to witnessing so many powerful miracles, we experienced a number of miracles just from people that had requested rosaries. And we started praying for them. We received letters from people saying that some miracles had happened for one woman, her mother like this, she had come out of a coma and she had had this almost miraculous healing and recovery.

 

She was one that we had really been praying for and then a number of other people. And then, and then all of a sudden, even in my own life, people that I was praying for people that I cared for, miraculous things were starting to happen. And I remember just being absolutely blown away and having these incredible conversations with my dad like dad, I can’t even believe it. I cannot believe these things are happening. And it was as if I could literally see the hand of God working in my life in ways that I could have never even began to imagine happening in my life just a few months earlier. And this is the deal about Mary, for me as a young girl, looking to female role models or female celebrities or female athletes, people in the world that I wanted to aspire to be like after I started to learn about Mary and to understand her story, and God’s calling of her and her willingness to say yes, to be his instrument, to bring Christ into this world and the suffering that she experienced and the joy and the grace and all of it, like she became the number one woman in my life.

 

She became the one that I wanted to be like. And as a young girl, especially it’s such a formidable age, she became just this extraordinary witness to me. I’m so thankful that she came into my life when she did as a teenager. And I think to this day, this is why I love teaching the teenagers in my life, whether it’s my own children or the teens I minister to, I like, I love telling them about her and her love for them even this last Sunday. And it’s one of the reasons why I wanted to do this podcast episode. Like we are in the month of October, this is the month of the rosary. We just recently celebrated our, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. And we’re going to be celebrating Our Lady of Fatima and all of this. And I love telling the teens in my life, the stories of our blessed and mother from the moment that age, that the angel Gabriel came to her and asked her if she would be willing to be the mother of God, to these miraculous stories of her appearing like in Fatima.

 

I mean, this is one of those, another amazing stories. Like, I didn’t know anything about Fatima until I was a young adult. I had no idea that just a hundred years ago, our lady appeared to these three young shepherd children in Portugal, in a small village called Fatima. And she appeared to them every month. She started appearing to them in may on May 13th. And then every single month, as she was telling them, you know, to, to turn to her son, she was teaching them about the rosary and telling them about the importance of their prayers and offering, you know, their prayers for those whose souls were at risk from, from not choosing God. And then like she told them that she would appear like so many people didn’t believe him and they wanted to kill these children and throw them into prison and torture them, thinking that these children were making up these lies, that they were seeing the blessing mother.

 

And then sure enough, as Mary predicted and told the children, I am going to appear on October 13th, 1917. And our Lord is going to perform an extraordinary miracle for all to see. And so, as we know, with a story, all these people over a hundred thousand people came to Fatima and it was pouring rain. And there was mud. I mean, can you imagine a hundred years ago, it’s not like they had bathrooms or porta-potties or anything like this. It’s like a thousand people in this area, in this big field filled with mud and dirt and pouring rain. And they all just really like, they wanted to torture these children thinking that this was just a big hoax, a big lie is standing there in the rain and in the mud, all of a sudden, right around noon. The sun starts to come through the clouds and they, everything starts to lighten up.

 

The rain stops. And then in the sky, the sun begins to start spinning and it starts like bolting across the sky, like shooting back and forth, spinning. And all these colors were like spinning off. And all of these people were witnessing this extraordinary miracle of the sun, dancing in the sky back and forth. I mean, can you even imagine what that must’ve been like? And then it starts coming closer to them. And sure enough, all of these people thought that this was like the end of the world, that they were going to die and they dive to the ground and they’re like face down in the mud and in the dirt. And the sun comes like, as, as though it’s going to come crashing down upon them, they’re screaming. And then all of a sudden it floats, like it goes back up into the sky and everybody stands up and everything is clean.

 

There’s no mud on anybody’s clothes. Like everything is completely dry. Everything is completely clean. And then all of a sudden Our Lady appears and she appears to the children again, and along with the holy family, along with Joseph and the child, Jesus. And there’s just this extraordinary miracle that over a hundred thousand people witnessed. And even people far away like in, in Portugal, like not just in that one area, witnessed this miracle of the sun spinning and, and dancing in the sky. And I don’t know about you, but I think about these types of things, when I think about the wonders of God and the things that he does to pursue our hearts and the miracles that he’s doing and the ways in which he is drawing us closer to him, and most, especially the ways in which our lady has been so instrumental in leading so many millions and millions of people over the centuries, closer to her son, all I can say is, I am just, I’m so thankful to be Catholic.

 

I’m so thankful to have a relationship with our blessing mother. And I know so often that we, as Catholics are sometimes misunderstood or that people that aren’t Catholic think that we put too much emphasis on our blessing mother, or they think that we worship her or that we honor her higher than Christ. And that couldn’t be anything further from the truth. For those of us that know and have a relationship with Mary, we know that she always draws us closer to her son. I have never met someone that has a relationship with Mary that doesn’t have a strong relationship with Jesus. And I was telling my, the teens in our youth group, just this last Sunday, I said, I asked him, I was like, how many of you have been to Disneyland? And sure enough, most people raised their hands. And I said, you know, that fast, the fast pass ticket, like the fast track ticket to get on the rides.

 

And they were like, yeah, like you, like, you can get these fast pass passes. I said, that’s like, what Mary is. She’s kind of like this fast track pass to our Lord. And so I always encourage the young people in my life. Like I always will tell them, just, just go to Mary. And all you have to do is say this one, simple prayer, Mary, please help me to know your son. That is like the fail proof prayer. You can pray because you, the second you sincerely ask Mary to help you to know her son. It’s pretty much like lights out, forget it this way. Like God is going to do incredible things. Like Mary is going to lead you to her son and he is going to forever change your life. And this is the thing that I want to say. And I also want to say to all of us as moms, like one of the greatest things we can do for our children is entrust them to Our Blessed Mother. 

I cannot tell you how many times my prayer is this Mary, you were the perfect mother. I oftentimes fall short, but Mary, please, please make up for the ways I am lacking right now. Please be a mother to my children, like a heavenly mother. I’m always praying for my children. I’m always asking for her intercession for their souls, for their future, even for their future spouse, for their future vocations. You’re always asking our lady to keep them close to her son, that she would wrap her mantle of love around each one of my children and always draw them and keep them close to her beloved son. And I know, I know with 100% competence, I know that she will hear that prayer, and I know that she will answer it. And so it gives me so much peace and it, and it gives me the confidence of knowing that my husband and I, we’re not alone in this.

 

Like we have our blessing mother. We have St. Joseph, we have the saints. We have our Lord who like, they all love our children even more than we do. They all want our children to get to heaven even more than we do, which is hard to fathom because that’s like the greatest prayer of our hearts as parents. We want them to know our Lord. We want to help get their little souls and their like their souls to heaven, but truly our lady, she is the answer on so many levels of helping all of us draw closer to him. So for me, in this very short period of time, as a 15 year old, 15 year old girl, I went from feeling like God was so far away that he didn’t want to be Catholic anymore. That the church was totally irrelevant in my life. And just by building a relationship with Mary, coming into a deeper relationship with her learning, how to pray, learning how to pray the rosary, everything in my life significantly changed.

 

As you can imagine, I got confirmed that year and not only did I get confirmed, but I was also asked to lecture at my confirmation mass. And it was such an honor. And I remember just thinking to myself, like I can’t, I can’t believe how big of a change had happened in my life. At that point, I started going to mass even oftentimes on my own taking responsibility for my faith as a teenage girl and getting really excited about it. I started to learn what the church really teaches about really tough moral issues. I started diving into, you know, reading the scriptures and wanting to learn everything I could about Christ and his church. And continuing on, like within just a very short period of time. Not only had I fallen madly in love with Christ, but I had fallen madly in love with his church and have been working in serving in ministry and in his church ever since that time, one of my favorite Saint Augustan quotes pretty much sums this all up for me, but it is this to fall in love with God is the greatest romance to seek him the greatest adventure to find him the greatest human achievement.

 

This my sisters in crisis, as what Mary taught me about her son and ever since I found myself falling in love with him as a result of her intercession, I have experienced the greatest romance, the greatest adventures, and truly some of the most extraordinary miracles in my life. And I cannot even wait to experience all the more of what God has in store to reveal my sisters in Christ. May we take this time, this opportunity, especially in the month of October, but it doesn’t have to be limited to that. It could be literally any time for us to tell these extraordinary stories, like miracle stories and miracles of Fatima and Lords and our lady of Guadalupe. Let us tell our children’s stories of miracles, miracles that happened in biblical times and throughout the centuries and miracles that happened to the saints, but also the miracles that are happening in our lives today.

 

One of my favorite questions that I’ve been asking my students every week is like, how is God showing up in your life? How has God working? What miracles have you experienced over the last few days? And the crazy thing is, is that the more that I asked them, these questions on a regular basis, the more attentive they are, the more they’re paying attention, the more they’re recognizing God working in their midst. And also the more excited they are to come to class and to share about them. They know I’m going to ask, and then they are starting to come more often more often with these incredible stories like, oh my gosh, Mrs. I can’t wait to share what happened to me over this weekend. You’re not going to believe this God’s story. And it’s so incredibly cool. And so my dear beloved sisters in Christ, I just want to let you know, as I wrap up this episode today that you will be, especially on my heart and in my prayers tonight, as I pray my rosary with, with our family this evening that you and your intentions would be lifted up and that I will ask our lady in a very special way to be praying for you and your family, your children, and that through the power of her profound love that we would all be drawn closer to her son and that we would experience the extraordinary grace of walking with her under the mantle of her love and protection today.

 

And always, I hope you have an incredible and blessed day and week ahead. And may you never forget that you are made for greatness.