How to bring someone back to the Church


Hi all,

Not sure if this is the right forum…if it isn’t I’m sure it will be moved to the proper one.

I have this dilemma. It’s been a ‘discussion’ between my mom and I who have differing opinions.

Here’s the situation…my younger sister left the church back in college. She lived with her boyfriend for 7 years and is now married to him with two little girls. He’s not Christian–not baptized even, and they have not/are not going to baptize the kids.

My mom constantly is on her case–has been since college, telling her she’s going to hell if she doesn’t change her ways, making her feel bad and so on. My mom says it’s her Catholic duty to ‘encourage’ her to come back to the church. I should add that my mom has some unresolved psychological issues that she is in a denial state about–and I’m sure this is blending in with her ‘behavior’/‘attitude’.

I do NOT view her approach as ‘encouragement’–if anything, it’s dis-encouraging her–the more my mom harps on her, the further away she goes.

My approach is this–she knows that I’m Catholic–that I go to church and pray. My sister is very aware that I’m very devout. However, I don’t ‘push’ anything on her–I don’t tell her she’s going to hell in a handbasket or anything like that. I’ve also explained that mom has psychological issues that are not representative of a true Catholic/Christian. I’m very careful not to make her feel terrible and try to remain ‘open’ without hiding my faith/belief. I pray for my sister and her immediate family, as well as my mom on a consistent basis.

Can anyone give me any other helpful advice??? Is there anything else I can do?




read Patrick Madrid’s Search and Rescue, the best guide to this situation. Clearly your mother’s tactics are not working.


Wow tough situation…
That scare tactic hardly ever works to bring people back to faith… Love is going to have to be your ally in this situation.

I would begin with sympathizing with your sister… remind her consistantly that your mother’s tactics are NOT what the faith is about. Tell her boldly that you are praying for her to return to the faith (that’s gonna be the hard part), and that you’d love to answer any questions that may be holding her back. Remind her this is not an attack on her husband by any means… you just love your sister and want to see her happily in the faith. (all in good time… if your sister returns, you never know what God may have planned for her husband)…
Don’t press any part of your personal spirituality on her… but be there to answer any questions or fears she may have. Have a copy of the catechism ready and respond to all her fears with love and sympathy.

Good luck… and continue to pray for her…

closed #4

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