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Putting Christ First: A New Convert Enters the Church Through the Dominican Charism

Photo: Elise Amez-Droz at St. Peter’s Square in Rome

Raised as an Evangelical Christian in Switzerland, Elise Amez-Droz didn’t seriously question her faith until graduate school.

“I was a little discouraged about life in general and somewhat depressed and I started to grapple with my faith, wondering, ‘What’s the foundation? What do I really believe?’”

At a conference, Elise made a friend who was entering into the Catholic Church. His experience contradicted the negative view of Catholicism she was brought up with.

“He clearly had a relationship with Christ, and I thought that was very odd. Why would someone who has such a vibrant faith want to become Catholic?”

Elise began attending Mass and reading St. Augustine’s Confessions, as well as grappling with the question of authority in the Christian faith.

Mary, the Saints, the tradition—if I accepted the authority of the Church, I had to accept everything. The theme throughout was, do I believe the Church has the authority that it does?”

Taking her religious education seriously, Elise visited three parishes before deciding on an RCIA program led by Dominican student brothers at St. Peter’s Church on Capitol Hill.

“I wanted to go somewhere where I could have specific answers to my questions and know that I could trust whoever was teaching. I knew that the Dominicans were the Order of Preachers. That’s their job: to study the Bible and to study tradition and teach very precisely.”

More than their doctrine, however, Elise was moved by the Dominican way of life. “Even more than what they taught, it was their lifestyle, their single focus, their single mindedness about Christ that was very compelling to me.”

Elise entered the church in 2019 and remains connected to the charism of St. Dominic by listening to the Thomistic Institute podcast and attending Mass at the Dominican House of Studies.

“[The Dominicans] are people who have dedicated their lives to teaching and preaching and learning and being infused with Christ. Knowing there’s a whole community of people who live like that helps me remember what’s most important about the way I live my life: To put Christ first.”

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