Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Wheaton Underground (Catholic Church)

Hello all, and sorry for the month long hiatus! 

As the summer ended I was bombarded with weddings and traveling and packing and moving back to college, so, needless to say, updating this blog wasn't the main priority.  But now I am back at Wheaton and plan on resuming where I left off.

Coming to Wheaton is, actually, exactly where I left off.

This time two years ago I was deep into considering the Catholic Church--but I had no desire for it at all and was actually completely afraid of what it would mean if I couldn't find answers to my questions about the Church's relationship to Scripture.  At this point I did not know any Catholics who actually practiced their faith and converting to Catholicism was on par with converting to a completely different religion, as far as I was concerned.  Nevertheless, my understanding of Christianity as a Protestant was slowly beginning to deteriorate, and I knew I either needed to find answers to my questions, convert to Catholicism, or leave Christianity.

It was at this point that I arrived on campus as a freshman at Wheaton College.

I had been praying for months now that God would show me His Church, and I figured that studying Scripture and Church history at the greatest Evangelical school in the nation would be the best way to find answers to my questions.  But to my dismay, being at Wheaton only intensified my questions (more on that in another post).  Now I was stuck—I was hundreds of miles away from home, beginning a new life, surrounded by strangers, and my whole worldview was falling apart.

Enter: my older brother, for a surprise weekend visit.

My older brother, who had converted to Catholicism a few years before, drove all through the night in order to come see me at Wheaton.  While he was there, he got me plugged in with the Catholic community…that was surprisingly all over Wheaton.

We like to call it (playfully, of course) the “Wheaton Catholic Underground” because at a school like Wheaton you would never expect to find so many devout Catholics—and so many converts.  To my utter shock, there were six Wheaton students in RCIA (that’s the name of the initiation process for adults wishing to convert to Catholicism) during my freshman year. Six might not sound like a big number, but from Wheaton College… it is a very big number.  And there was a larger group of students—Catholic, non-Catholic, and not-sure-yets—on Wheaton’s campus going through an independent study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Also, my brother randomly met and connected me with a group of women in Chicago who were committed to living out their Catholic faith (members of Opus Dei, for those of you to whom that means something). 

So in the course of two days, I went from not knowing any Catholics who understood their faith and loved Jesus through it, to being surrounded by them everywhere I went.  And all of this as a result of my choice to go to Wheaton College in order to find answers to my questions about Christ’s vision for His Church.  


  1. Wow, Ruth, did you notice you made Mark Shea's blog?! Way to go!

  2. we are all on a journey and thank God that. Read the early church fathers and it is amazing what you will find there.
    God bless.

  3. "Nevertheless, my understanding of Christianity as a Protestant was slowly beginning to deteriorate, and I knew I either needed to find answers to my questions, convert to Catholicism, or leave Christianity."

    That is exactly the place I find myself. I've remarked to friends that I will either become Catholic or cease to be Christian altogether, because Protestantism ceases to make sense to me.

  4. I forget what it was last year, but I started to come across all these stories about how conducive these big name evangelical colleges were to Catholicism. Specifically mentioned was Wheaton, of course. Isn't their motto "Exploring Historic Christianity" or something? I go to Notre Dame, and there's Catholicism all over the place to be sure. There's just something about the idea of a "Catholic Underground" that intrigues me.

  5. one of my favorite bloggers- secret vatican spy- converted while a student at Oral Roberts!

  6. Hello fellow wheatie and convert! My husband (also a wheatie) and I both converted to Catholicism 7 years ago and I was looking into it while I was at Wheaton (95-99). An underground group started while I was at Wheaton called "The Dead Father's Society" - their sole aim was to look into the teachings of the Catholic Church by reading the Catechism. The group consisted of about 10 students, all of whom converted. It warms my soul to hear that this group continues! God surely provides! We now live in Alaska and my husband is the editor for the Catholic Anchor ( -the paper for the archdiocese up here). Thank you for sharing this! May God continue to guide you!

  7. Lest the uninitiated, as it were, over-read the playfulness here, let the record show that Wheaton students are free to be Catholic and are so openly - joining conversations in Theology Classes as someone bringing a Catholic perspective and so on. Also, it should be noted that some Wheaton Catholic students were not received as adults but raised in the Catholic Church and never left it.

  8. It is awesome. You are more than welcome to come to Corpus Christi Church in Carol Stream which is just north of Wheaton.

  9. Anon #2:

    Too true! Thank you for pointing that out. I was, of course, intending a playful approach to calling the Catholic community at Wheaton the "Underground," but I can see how that could be taken negatively. Thank you for saying something!

  10. Welcome Home! My husband and I were just received into the Church about a month ago. Isn't this an exciting journey? I look forward to hearing more about yours.

  11. Hey, do they still have that Roman Catholic Theology course being offered at Wheaton? That's what brought me over to Rome!

  12. I'm a Wheaton grad ('00) and Catholic convert, as is my husband, and so happy to find your blog. Many blessings to you on your journey!

    N.W. Thomas: I think the Wheaton motto is "For Christ and His Kingdom."

    DavidsonClan: We miss you guys!!!

  13. Found this post as my twin sister and I (both evangelical > Catholic converts as college kids) were having an idle discussion -- man, what would have happened to us if we had gone to Wheaton?? [instead of our Catholic and small liberal arts colleges, respectively?] Are there even Catholics at Wheaton? There must be. There can't be. Google it!

    So I'm glad to see there are! And a convert underground! Hahaha.