Book Review: No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy

What motivates a young man to turn from a life of drugs and crime to a life of love for Jesus and Mary?  How could a hardcore atheist possibly be transformed into a Marian priest?

These are questions Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC answers in his amazing conversion story No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy. Although he is now a devout and learned Catholic Marian priest, Fr. Callaway led a rebellious, undisciplined life as a youth – much like St. Augustine.  Prior to his conversion to Catholicism, he was a high school dropout who had been kicked out of Japan for criminal behavior, institutionalized twice, and thrown into jail many times. Discovering a book on Our Lady and through his mother’s relentless prayers, he is led to his conversion and a deep love for Mary and the Church. In his own words, he reveals how Divine Mercy, through the intercession of the Blessed Mother, transformed his life. Fr. Callaway now travels throughout the world sharing his conversion story in an effort to rekindle a love for Jesus and Mary through his message of hope and witness to Divine Mercy.

I initially learned of Father Callaway’s miraculous conversion story by watching a DVD from our parish library, in which Father tells the story in his own words, with much enthusiasm and excitement. I was fascinated by the DVD and found it to be both very inspiring and uplifting. When I began to read the book, I discovered that it was presented in the same down to earth, easy to understand manner as the DVD. In the book, Father Calloway recounts his story in a very personal and candid way, as if speaking to a close friend. None of the excitement or enthusiasm is missing, but the riveting tale contains important details and pieces of the puzzle that helps the reader to better understand this young man and his amazing spiritual journey.

Fr. Calloway begins his autobiography by warning that we may find his story unbelievable, but that when we pray for people – miracles can happen. Divine mercy is a reality and he presents himself as the poster child for Divine Mercy. Then, he immediately plunges into the fast paced tale of his capture and deportation from Japan at the age of 15. As a spiritually mature adult and devout Marian priest, he conveys the story of his youthful years in a straightforward manner, with much insight and understanding of his sinful ways, not mincing words nor making excuses for his behavior. While relating his youthful adventures and wayward ways, he uses discretion in describing his actions, giving us just the right amount of information. He effectively uses humor, honesty, and humility to capture our hearts as he shares how he was miraculously drawn into the Church.

This is a captivating story that will melt your heart and rekindle your love for Jesus and Mary as you ponder on the power of prayer and his Infinite Divine Mercy. I highly recommend No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy for: teens, adults of all ages, parents who are struggling with rebellious teens or young adults, counselors, and youth ministers.

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