Dr. Gloria Sampson, a linguistic professor who taught in Communist China, spent over half a century living as an atheist. She was raised Catholic, but left the faith in college and never looked back. Find out how a series of events culminating in a personal invitation to Discovering Christ changed everything.

(Dr. Gloria Sampson's testimony was originally aired on “Catholics Come Home.” Watch an excerpt from the interview where she talks about her Discovering Christ experience.)

One afternoon Gloria ran into her neighbor while walking her dog. After chatting for a few minutes, Gloria’s neighbor invited her over for a cup of tea. The neighbor shared that she was attending a program at her church called Discovering Christ, which was helping her learn about her faith—something she didn’t know much about, despite being raised Catholic.

A few days later, that same neighbor sent Gloria an email. It was an invitation to Discovering Christ. The church was only a few blocks from her home, so Gloria decided to try it out.

She walked in not sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised. “[The people I met] were extraordinary; a real surprise because I was expecting people to come at me, trying to suck me into the church. They were just normal, regular people talking in a normal, regular way.”

The community she found through ChristLife helped answer many of the questions she had about the Catholic faith. “It was the availability of people to ask questions informally, not having to go directly to a priest with what seemed to me to be really stupid and dumb questions. They were there, they could answer them, they could bring forth things that I hadn’t even thought about.”

At the end of the series, there was an invitation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. She went and when she walked out of the confessional “felt free, felt ready to fly.” She also returned to the Eucharist. She shared, “When I received the Eucharist for the first time after 52 years, I was ready to cry. I had to control myself to keep from weeping out of happiness.”

Now? She wants to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others. “I actually feel an urge to evangelize, as strange as it might sound, because after 52 years, [one might think] ‘Who am I to go evangelizing?’ But you really do feel that urge. I tell my story in the hope that maybe someone else who wonders if there’s a way to get back to the church, that maybe my way, or my experience, could help them come back too. … We have to understand that God is within us and He comes through us so that we can give to others.”

Dr. Sampson's story was originally shared on Catholics Come Home.