Dates: born early 1950s
Nationality: American son of German Jewish refugees
Occupation: author, academic, public speaker
Schoeman had a strict Jewish upbringing and studied his Jewish faith under some of the most notable American rabbis of the time. Growing up in the 1960s, however, his faith “degenerated into the immoral, vague, hippie spirituality” of the “free love” culture. A man with extraordinary academic gifts, he was awarded high distinction at Harvard Business School and was himself teaching on the Harvard MBA programme before the age of 30. Constantly seeking new consolations in a life that he felt was devoid of true meaning, he also became a top class skier.
It was while skiing, high up after sunset amid the glorious scenery of the Austrian Alps, that Schoeman once more became aware of the existence of God. He subsequently had a mystical experience, beautifully described in his book (see below), and found himself in the presence of God. He did not as yet know who God was (and fervently hoped that He was nothing to do with Christianity!) but his continuing spiritual journey led him to Christianity and finally into the Catholic Church. The events of Fatima played a part in that journey.
Comments on converting to Catholicism
“I became aware of how the Catholic Church was itself an outgrowth of Judaism.”
“I will never know, this side of Heaven, whose prayers and sacrifices purchased the graces for my entirely unsought after and undeserved conversion, but I can only thank them profoundly and exhort others, too, to pray for the conversion of the Jews, so that the people to whom Jesus first made himself known may come into the truth and into the fullness of their relationship with Him in the Catholic Church. How tragic that we to whom God first revealed Himself as man should be among the last to recognize him!”
Roy Schoeman is author of Salvation is from the Jews (written for both Christians and Jews) and editor of Honey from the Rock. This latter book contains the varied but always moving conversion stories of 16 Jewish men and women who became Catholics, covering (chronologically) from Alphonse Ratisbonne to Schoeman himself.