Thursday, July 25, 2013

An interview with Pro-Life Wisconsin's Sam Guzman

Pro-Life Wisconsin's Sam Guzman
Sam Guzman took over as the director of communications at Pro-Life Wisconsin in January. A recent convert to Catholicism, he represents the increasingly youthful face of the pro-life movement. Sam was kind enough to take some time to sit down and answer a few questions about faith, fatherhood and the state of the pro-life movement in Wisconsin.

You recently moved to Wisconsin. Where did you relocate from, and why?

My wife and I moved from Colorado, specifically the Colorado Springs area. I grew up in Wisconsin, but moved to Colorado after meeting my wife online, as that is where she lived at the time. I never seriously considered moving back to Wisconsin until I heard that Pro-Life Wisconsin was hiring a Communications Director. While I thought it was a long shot, I submitted my resume. After going through the interview process, they offered me the job! I was surprised and happy.  We moved back January of this year.

What parish do you attend?

I attend St. Stanislaus in Milwaukee. Yeah, Latin mass!

Who's your favorite saint, and why?

That is a hard one! There are so many saints I love and admire. But if I had to choose, I would have to say St. Louis de Montfort, who is my patron saint. Coming into the Church, I struggled with Catholic devotion to Mary. After reading “True Devotion to Mary,” the light bulb went on and I embraced devotion to Mary as my spiritual path. Of course, St. Louis is mostly known for his teachings on Our Lady, but there is so much more to his spirituality. He was a poet and an incredibly deep and mystical saint. He writes about Divine Wisdom with such a fiery passion, and after reading him, I always go away inspired to live a more holy life.

You're a convert to the Catholic faith, right? What's the story of your conversion, and when did it take place?

Yes, I am a convert to Catholicism. It is difficult to share my story briefly, but I will do my best. (Someday, God willing, I will write a book!) While attending a fundamentalist Baptist university in college, I began to feel a strong disconnect between the faith I knew and the faith of the early church. Would St. Augustine (my hero at the time) really have gone to Victory Independent Fundamental Baptist Church and ended each service with an altar call? How did the earliest Christians worship? Baptist worship just didn’t seem to fit with the little I knew about church history. I began to delve into the history of Christianity and to read the early church Fathers as much as possible.

 Also, at the same time, I was a guard at the school’s art museum. Ironically, this virulently anti-Catholic Baptist school had an art gallery filled with priceless Catholic art. It spanned the 2nd to the 19th centuries. It was incredibly beautiful stuff. I would spend the hours of my shift browsing the paintings and trying to translate the Latin inscriptions. I looked up some Latin prayers online, and was actually memorizing the Hail Mary in Latin, just because I thought it was cool to pray in Latin (a dangerous thing to do--Our Lady is the most effective evangelist!). Again, though, I felt distant from the Christians who created this art work. Obviously, they had strong faith. Yet, according to what I believed, they weren’t true Christians. What did they really believe, and why?

In short, I was drawn to the beauty, depth, and richness of historic Christianity. The impression grew that the Protestant Christianity I knew was missing something essential, and was actually foreign to the faith of Christians through the ages. The search for a more historic faith lead me to the Anglican tradition. I thought, “Here is a middle way between Catholicism (which I would never consider) and Protestantism.” I considered the ministry and becoming an ordained Anglican priest. However, in choosing an Anglican denomination in which to pursue ordination, the division that characterizes Protestantism really hit home. I always knew Protestants were divided, but it never really bothered me. But when I saw dozens of Anglican “churches” all claiming to be the true Anglicans, co-existing with whacked-out liberal Anglicans like the Episcopal Church in the USA, I knew there was a deeper problem. Jesus’ prayer for unity in John 17 told me this shouldn’t be. Why such confusion in the name of Jesus? So I began to study the break with Rome that had started the chaos.

For about three years, I studied church history and theology in my spare time. After graduating college, I began to study more earnestly. I vacillated between repulsion and attraction, fascination and disgust. After much internal struggle and turmoil, I eventually came to the conclusion that the Catholic church was the one True Church that Jesus had founded in 33 A.D. It was the body of Christ, and if I wanted to be true to Jesus, I would have to become Catholic. I decided to convert around mid-2011 and was confirmed Easter of 2012. There’s so much more I could say, but that is the short version!

Sam, Laura and Peter Guzman

You and your wife Laura have a one-year-old and another little one on the way. What has fatherhood taught you?

Being a father has been one of the greatest joys of my life. More than ever, it has taught me the beauty of each human life. My little boy is so full of a personality all his own, and it is great fun watching him explore the world, learn, and grow. I can’t wait to meet our new baby soon, and see the ways in which he is uniquely gifted.

One way being a parent has challenged me is in seeing how much Peter looks up to me. He wants to do everything I do. It’s very cute, but it also reminds me of my great responsibility to be holy example for him. More than what I say, he will learn from what I do. I strive to be a good man and a saint for his sake.

Tomorrow, we'll be back with part two of our interview with PLW Communications Director Sam Guzman.

1 comment:

  1. Unnamed Friendly OrganizerJuly 25, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    No shout out for Franciscum or OLLG, Sam? I expected better self-promotion from you.


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