As much as we can draw from the experiences of Catholic converts from years and decades past, there’s always something to be said for people actively converting to, engaging with, and practicing Catholicism with all of us right now. Something about living in the same time and space with people walking the same faith journey speaks power into the case for Christ in ways that historical figures cannot.
You might know some of these people from the big screen, too, even if you didn’t know that they spend their Sunday mornings the same way you do. Ever heard of Nicole Kidman? This Oscar-, Emmy-, and Golden-Globe-winning actress (famous for roles in the TV series Big Little Lies and the movies Moulin Rouge!, Boy Erased, and Aquaman, to name a few) centers herself in the pews with her family every week in their hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.
Growing up in Australia, Kidman was raised in the Catholic faith and educated by the Sisters of Mercy at Monte Sant’Angelo College. She has a strong belief in God, greatly influenced by her “very Catholic grandmother” and her young and early exposure to prayer. “A lot of my friends tease me,” Kidman said in an interview with Vanity Fair, but she makes church with her family a priority (and even though her husband, country music star Keith Urban, doesn’t share her Catholic beliefs, he comes too, she said, noting “that’s how we are raising our children”).
Kidman didn’t always practice as regularly as she does now. In fact, she married her first husband, Tom Cruise, in the Church of Scientology, dabbling in both Scientology and Buddhism while with him. While she didn’t raise her two children (with Cruise) in the Church of Scientology, she says that she was “definitely not a practicing Catholic” during the ten years she was married to him. She notes that she felt estranged from the Catholic faith, but that neither Scientology nor Buddhism fulfilled her sense of spiritual longing.
But she never fully renounced her Catholic upbringing, though, because when preparing to marry Keith Urban, she applied for (and was granted) an annulment so that she could marry him in the Catholic Church.
Her marriage to Urban was called a “kind of spiritual homecoming,” her longtime friend and spiritual advisor Father Paul Coleman said. The Jesuit priest, who officiated the ceremony, dedicated his message to the bride and groom on the secret of keeping love alive — making time for each other in their relationship, as each made space for God to guide them. Kidman has given several interviews in which she mentions the centrality of her Catholic faith to the rest of her life.
“Catholicism is a part of my life. Last Easter time was lovely because I was back with my family, which was the first time in a long while that I spent Easter with my huge extended Catholic family, with aunts and cousins from all over the place,” she said in 2017. “Being Catholic was so much a part of my childhood, that it still remains with me and forms so much of my life experience [though I lapsed practicing for several years].”
--Claire Kosewic, Staff Bulletin Writer
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