How the ‘pirate nun’ changed a gay man’s life

Mother Angelica with eye patch via YouTube screenshot. (CNA)

Mother Angelica with eye patch via YouTube screenshot. (CNA)

The following comes from a March 29 Catholic News Agency article by Mary Rezac:

Paul Darrow went to his first gay beach when he was 15.

Soon after, he hitchhiked his way to New York, where there was a thriving gay scene and where he could pursue a career in modeling. Once there, he landed a high-end job as an international model and rubbed elbows with celebrities at clubs in the city.

He found himself going through dozens, and then hundreds, and then thousands of lovers.

But after the AIDS epidemic claimed around 90 percent of his friends, a disease he himself narrowly and miraculously escaped, Darrow decided to move to San Francisco for a fresh start. He met his partner, Jeff, there and they moved to a cabin in Sonoma County.

It was in their shared home that Darrow accidentally discovered a one-eyed, straight-talking “pirate nun” wearing an eye-patch who would change his life forever, he said in the documentary film, “Desire of the Everlasting Hills.”

“It was so strange that I said ‘Jeff Jeff come in here! You gotta see this!’” he said, pointing to the image on the T.V.

Unbeknownst to them at the time, it was Mother Angelica on EWTN. She had just had a stroke, which pulled the left side of her face into a slump and required her to wear a black eye patch over one eye.

“So (Jeff) comes in and I’m laughing mockingly at this nun with a patch over her eye, a distorted face…and a complete old fashioned habit,” Darrow said. “We both mocked her and laughed at her, you know, ‘Gosh these crazy Christians.’”

Jeff left the room and Darrow was about to change the channel, when Mother Angelica “said something so intelligent, so real, and so honest, that it really struck me,” he said.

“You see God created you and I to be happy in this life and the next,” Mother Angelica said through slumped lips, her good eye still twinkling behind her glasses.

Mother Angelica’s words struck a chord with Darrow that day, and he found himself secretively snatching glimpses of her episodes every chance he got.

“He cares for you. He watches your every move. There’s no one that loves you can do that.”

Mother Angelica’s words struck a chord with Darrow that day, and he found himself secretively snatching glimpses of her episodes every chance he got.

Eventually, Mother Angelica’s influence convinced Darrow to go back to church after decades of absence. It was a move that made Darrow very wary; he was sure he would lose friends and clients if they saw him going into a Catholic Church.

And in some ways, he was right.

But it’s a move that he’s never regretted. Since his conversion, Darrow has shared his experience through talks and conferences. Mother Angelica also led Darrow to discover Courage International, the Vatican-approved apostolate that reaches out to Catholics with same-sex attraction with the goals of growing closer to God, engaging in supportive friendships, and learning to live full lives within the call to chastity.

It was through Courage International that Darrow became involved with the film “Desire of the Everlasting Hills,” which he saw as a chance to share his story and to give others the same hope that he found in the Catholic Church.

“I was not discriminated against at the beginning of my journey back to the Catholic Church, I was never told that I was a bad person, that I was doing something wrong, even in confession,” he said.

“The Catholic Church really is, according to its teachings, open to everybody.”

The full documentary is available for free online at: https://everlastinghills.org/movie/

Comments

comments

To add a comment, click on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ icons OR go further down to the bottom of comments to the Post your comment box.

Comments

  1. Mother Angelica was a vessel for many to return to the One True Faith, through Christ our Lord. She presented The Church as the home people need, and this inspiring story would have warmed her heart.

  2. Tony de New York says:

    GOD bless him!

  3. I hope the liberal bishops who disliked Mother Angelica hear about this conversion. Maybe Mother Angelica can convert these left wing bishops so they return to the true Catholic Church.

    • mother angelica was not the first to have catholic radio, the ave maria hour was about the lives of the saints it was broadcast on sunday evening by the graymoor friars, founded by father paul Watson and mother laurana who founded the sisters. father paul was a convert his cause for sainthood has just begun.

  4. The full truth of the church shared with conviction softens the hardest souls.

  5. drewelow says:

    i think that the ignatian Q conference should fire all the waffling ‘we wuv you’ muppets and let the audience view replays of the pirate nun’s call to conversion. the sad thing is that even if the lgbtq audience is mollified and feels welcomed, it’s unsure that they will be introduced to orthodoxy in the real areas of catholic teaching.

  6. Paul Darrow used to pray the rosary with us in front of Planned Parenthood when he lived out here in Palm Springs. Great guy!

  7. This is a very beautiful and inspirational article. May God bless Paul for his Christian courage, and I too hope the Vatican will look upon this as a positive influence to beatify Mother Angelica.

COMMENTS POLICY: Comments are limited to 750 characters and will be truncated at 750. Comments should not contain offensive or libelous language. Please strive to be civil. All comments are subject to approval by our moderator and to editing as the moderator deems appropriate. Inclusion of your email address is optional.

Speak Your Mind

COMMENTS POLICY: Comments are limited to 750 characters and will be truncated at 750. Comments should not contain offensive or libelous language. Please strive to be civil. All comments are subject to approval by our moderator and to editing as the moderator deems appropriate. Inclusion of your email address is optional.