She doesn’t remember who first told her about Jesus, but it wasn’t anyone in her family.

Twenty-year-old Victoria Marcondes said the name of God “was never spoken” at home where she was raised in San Rafael. Her parents, Brazilian and French immigrants, were avowed atheists.

She was about 8, she said, when for reasons she still does not entirely understand, she became a believer.

“I immediately believed that Jesus was God and that I needed him,” said Marcondes.

Alone in her bedroom on her computer doing homework, she would secretly research Christianity in between assignments. She found herself particularly drawn to what she learned about the rosary, the Mass and the sacraments.

Unbeknownst to her family, the youngster began a private routine. She would slip into nearby St. Isabella Parish to pray.

“It was very intimidating, I’m not going to lie,” she said. “It is a huge church and it was dark during the day, but I fell in love with it. As much as it increased her desire to become a Catholic, she didn’t think it was possible.

“I knew my parents wouldn’t be supportive, and I didn’t know how to do it on my own,” she said.

Her parents were indeed, “not happy at all” when she told them. They said time would tell if it was just a phase.

By middle school, Marcondes had befriended a group of girls, most from Catholic families. They were supportive of her interest in their faith.

Every day, it seemed, she was given another article of faith: a rosary, a holy medal, a pamphlet or book of Catholic prayers.

“I began to fear that if I was not baptized by 18, the world would take me,” she said.

At 14, Marcondes told her parents it was not a phase; she had prayed every single day for six years that she could become a baptized Catholic.

At 16, Marcondes was baptized, received her first Communion and was confirmed at the Easter Vigil at St. Isabella Parish in 2019. Her parents were not in attendance.

“But all the girls from middle school showed up,” she said. “A whole pew of 16-year-old girls. I did have a support network; it just wasn’t my family.”

Marcondes began work last year in the parish office at St. Hilary Parish in Tiburon while she pursues a college degree in math.

Full story at SF Archdiocese website.

See previous CalCatholic story: ‘Catholic curious’ Jeff Yano ends up at St. Patrick Seminary