Andre Frossard passed away Feb 2 1995. During the last 30 years of his life, he was a columnist in English and French for Le Figaro newspaper. Prior to that, Frosard was arrested by the Gestapo [Klaus Barbie] as part of the French Resistance and tortured by the Nazi’s. Prior to that, Frossard had a powerful conversion. A little background from his obituary about that conversion in The Independent:
… His grandmother was Jewish, his mother a Lutheran Protestant, his father, Ludovic-Oscar Frossard, an official atheist who was first secretary of the Communist Party and later a socialist minister.
The young Frossard discovered religion when he entered a chapel to look for a friend in July 1935 … “I was as surprised,” he wrote, “to find myself a Catholic when I left the chapel as I would have been to find myself a giraffe when I left the zoo.”
Who stops by a Chapel at 5am? What happened in that chapel? Glad you asked. Frossard recounted his conversion in his book, “God Exists. I Have Met Him”:
“Having entered a chapel in the Latin Quarter of Paris at 5:10 in the morning to look for a friend, I left at a quarter after 5 in the company of a friendship that was not of this earth. Having entered as a skeptic and an atheist…and ever more skeptical and atheistic, indifferent and preoccupied with so many things other than a God to Whom I never even gave a thought even to deny… I was standing by the door, looking around with my eyes for my friend, but did not succeed in finding him…
“My gaze passed from the shadows to the light…from the faithful gathered there, to the nuns, to the altar…and came to rest above the second candle burning to the left of the Cross (unaware that I was standing in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament). And at that point,
suddenly a series of miracles unfolded whose indescribable force shattered in an instant the absurd being that I was, to bring to birth the amazed child that I had never been
… At first the hint of these words, ‘Spiritual Life’ came to me… as if they had been pronounced in a whisper next to me… then came a great light… a world, another world of a radiance and a destiny that in one stroke cast our world among the fragile shadows of unfulfilled dreams… of which I felt all the sweetness… a sweetness that was active and upsetting beyond every form of violence, capable of breaking the hardest stone and that which is even harder than stone – the human heart. Its overflowing eruption, so complete, was accompanied by a joy which is the exultation of the saved, the joy of the shipwrecked who is picked up just in time. These sensations, which I find difficult to translate into a language which cannot capture these ideas and images, were all simultaneous… Everything is dominated by the Presence… of Him of Whom I would never be able to write His name without fear of harming its tenderness, of Him before Whom I have had the good fortune to be a forgiven child who wakes up to discover that everything is a gift… God existed and was present… one thing only surprised me: The Eucharist! Not that it seemed incredible, but it amazed me that Divine Charity would have come upon this silent way to communicate Himself, and above all that He would choose to become bread, which is the staple of the poor, and the food preferred by children… O Divine Love, eternity will be too short to speak of You.”
Try and forget that story the next chapel you walk into.