By Dan Valenti (Jan 7, 2010)
Conversion. It's one of the most potent words in spirituality. There are multiple meanings of the word, but in religion, it refers to the reformation of one's life — a profound redirection to abandon a former way of living to assume one conformed to God's will.
Conversion is how many people know of Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC. There have been videos and brief prose treatments of his turning from a life of immorality and substance abuse to faith. Father Donald has talked about it on numerous occasions. The full story, however, has remained untold.
This month, Marian Press launches No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy, Fr. Donald's new book that presents the full account of his story by the only man who can tell it as his own.
Father Donald's early years read like a case study from a reform school. He dropped out of high school, turned to a life of crime, got kicked out of a foreign country, was thrown in jail many times, and was institutionalized twice.
No Turning Back takes its title from the definitive nature of Donald Calloway's conversion. He went from a young, thoughtless criminal with a passion for surfing to a heartfelt love of Mary, which he first encountered after chancing to read a book on the Blessed Mother.
The spark of faith ignited an explosion of love for Mary, which led him to Jesus and to formation as a Marian seminarian. Through diligent study and acceptance of God's forgiveness and mercy, Donald was ordained a priest in the Congregation of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, whose U.S. province is based on Eden Hill in Stockbridge, Mass.
Father Donald, who currently serves as the Marian Fathers' U.S. vocation director, writes in the introduction, "Some may find the following story — my life story — to be almost unbelievable. After I give my conversion witness at conferences, it's not unheard of for someone to approach me and say, 'I can't believe it. I think this is unbelievable.' ... I would probably have doubts myself. How is this possible? Is this story true? Because these kinds of events only happen in the Bible."
Further in his introduction, Fr. Donald gives the encouragement: "I am 'Exhibit A' — evidence that when people pray, even for people they don't know — miracles can happen. Divine Mercy is for real!"
Father Donald has completed advanced studies in Mariology and has worked tirelessly to share his love of Mary with others. He has written many articles, edited two books on Mary (The Immaculate Conception in the Life of the Church and The Virgin Mary and Theology of the Body, Marian Press, 2004 and 2005), and written one (Purest of All Lilies: The Virgin Mary in the Spirituality of St. Faustina, Marian Press, 2008).
Father Donald has a bachelor's degree in philosophy and theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio; master's and STB degrees from the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C.; and an STL in Mariology from the International Marian Research Institute in Dayton, Ohio. To learn more about Fr. Donald, visit his website, www.fathercalloway.com.
To purchase No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy, visit our online catalog.