Raised in an evangelical Christian family, a young California woman ventures abroad to study among the “dreaming spires” of Oxford University — and is introduced to a whole new world of faith.

Exposed to the traditions of the Catholic and Orthodox churches by monks and nuns studying and living in local English communities, she realizes that she is moving toward an irrevocable choice.

Engaged to be married at the time, she decides to enter the Catholic Church and discovers, as time goes by, that she is called to become a nun in Germany, many thousands of miles away from home.

It could be a Hollywood biopic — instead, it’s the story of a real-life 30-something sister and scholar, Makrina Finlay, now a Benedictine living in a monastery in Dinklage, Germany.

“I thought it was beautiful,” she said of her early experiences at the abbey. “It was a place where I could express different parts of myself, ground I knew, and into which I could sink my roots.”

The overwhelming majority of those pursuing vocations in religious life in the church were born into the faith. But a small, steady stream of men and women choose first to become Catholic and then, in what is perhaps an even larger leap of faith, choose religious life itself.

Twelve percent of brothers and sisters making perpetual vows weren’t born Catholic, according to a 2017 Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate report. Nine out of 10 entering religious life were raised Catholic, it said.

Full story at CatholicPhilly.com.