How Jesus Called Me Back to the Catholic Church and Set My Heart on Fire
Author: Mallory Smyth

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Format: Paperback

Publication date: November 6, 2020

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Winner of a second-place award for popular presentation of the faith by the Catholic Media Association.

Mallory Smyth has been where many young Catholics are today. But the difference between her and other fallen-away Catholics is that she figured out that when she overlooked the shortcomings of the Church as an institution, she fell in love with Jesus and rediscovered the beauty and truth of her faith.

In Rekindled, Smyth’s raw, relatable account of her own disillusionment and departure is sure to resonate with anyone who has struggled to feel at home in the Church. For anyone who has left the faith or has one foot out the door, this powerful book just might illuminate a path back home—to a Church that is both holy and in need of perfection.

Shallow homilies. Hypocritical authority figures. Trite answers to pressing questions. These and other shortcomings of the Church have led plenty of Catholics to question their faith—or to abandon it entirely.

Rekindled is for those who have left the Church and those with one foot out the door. Smyth’s account of her own disillusionment and departure is relatable and honest. She understands and validates the pain and doubt that many Catholics and former Catholics feel. Smyth also provides you with practical guidance for keeping your faith even when what you encounter in the Church falls short:

  • How to recognize Christ’s presence even in the most mediocre Mass experiences.
  • Strategies for finding faithful role models when authority figures let you down.
  • Where to turn when the answers and pastoral guidance you receive don’t reach the heart of the issue.
  • How to find fulfillment in Christ and in the community of the saints even when joy seems to be in short supply in the Church.

Product Details

Pages: 160

Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5 inches

ISBN: 9781646800094

Imprint: Ave Maria Press

Are you or someone you know struggling to understand the Catholic faith? Have you contemplated leaving or know someone who has left the Church?

Many young people have left the Catholic Church in search of fulfillment and satisfaction elsewhere and most of the time, for good reason. From bad Mass experiences, to inadequate answers to good questions, to a hypocritical hierarchy, Mallory Smyth doesn't blame them. In fact, she was one of them. Years ago, Mallory had one foot out of the Catholic Church. Her life had been completely transformed by Jesus but it was done in another denomination. It was only when she started doing her own research that she fell deeply in love with the Catholic faith.

If you are a millennial reading this book, you'll find honest encounters in the Catholic Church as a millennial. You'll laugh at quirks, lament at failures, and revisit this beautiful faith in which Jesus Christ started to move closer to your heart. For anyone who has left or is close to leaving the faith, Rekindled just might illuminate a path back home—to a Church that is both holy and in need of perfection.

Some Misconceptions About the Church Covered are:


Do you think the Catholic Church hates sex?

A common perception of the Church is that it clings to old-fashioned and prudish ideas of sex and therefore the culture offers a freer way to express our sexuality. Mallory shows you how she embraced sexuality in a new way and came to find that the Church does not hate sex. In fact, the Church has beautiful and deeply moving teachings on the sacredness of sex and how Christ's example of total gift can help you love others wholly and freely.

Counter-Cultural Teaching

Do you think Church teachings are “backwards?”

When it comes to personal choice and freedom of expression, the Catholic Church seems very opposed to our modern sensibilities. In a world that values tolerance and love over all things, it looks as if being a member of the Church would make you a bigot. Mallory explains how being part of the Church provides you with more freedom than you could ever desire.

Mediocre Masses

Do you think that the Mass is boring?

Every single Catholic in America has experienced the sometimes endearing but generally frustrating mediocrity of the Mass. Mallory sheds a new light on the mass and encourages you to participate in a different way.

Easy-to-Follow Chapter Breakdowns

What Mallory Experienced

Beginning each chapter, Mallory shares personal anecdotes of her struggles with her Catholic faith at different points in her life and how they almost led to her permanent departure from the Church.

What Mallory Learned

Mallory then builds upon these anecdotes and details what she learned from her experiences, both about the Catholic faith and the larger world, as well as how they can connect.

Why Mallory Stayed

Finally, Mallory explains how her experiences and the lessons that she learned from them have given her a greater understanding of the Catholic faith and led to her not only staying Catholic, but embracing God and her faith.

  • “Demonstrates the power of the Catholic Church to give young people what they need.”

    “At a time when so many young people are confused and searching for moral clarity, Mallory Smyth’s story of coming back to the Catholic faith, Rekindled, demonstrates the power of the Catholic Church to give young people what they need.” 

    Emily Stimpson Chapman
    Creator of The Catholic Table
    Coauthor of The Catholic Almanac

  • “Quick, concise, and super transparent.”

    “I loved Rekindled—it is quick, concise, and super transparent. Mallory Smyth’s honesty is a gift to so many Christians and Catholics alike and Rekindled is an essential read for parents of adult children who have left the faith or have become lapsed in their practice. This book belongs in every Catholic home.”

    Jenny Uebbing
    Blogger at Mama Needs Coffee
    Creator and content director of Off the Charts 

  • “Gripping.”

    “Rekindled is a gripping story about how we should move past surface-level deficiencies in the Catholic Church and embrace the beauty of Catholicism’s timeless truths. I highly recommend it.”

    Trent Horn
    Staff Apologist at Catholic Answers
    Author of Why We’re Catholic

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