Patricia Neal, Actress turned Pro-Life activist, dies and leaves us a lesson.
The American Catholic has a beautiful story about Patricia Neal, the once notorious mistress of Gary Cooper who aborted the child she had from him and then went on to rediscover Catholicism, repent, become a pro-life activist and reconcile herself with Gary Cooper’s daughter who had spat at her during the relationship with her father.
It is interesting to notice that:
1) in the end not only the actress herself repented (and her words quoted on the article are very beautiful and full of humanity: ““Father, alone in the night for over 40 years, I have cried for my child. And if there is one thing I wish I had the courage to do over in my life, I wish I had the courage to have that baby”), but Gary Cooper himself later came back to his family and …… converted to Catholicism!
2) She had a remarkable series of disgraces in her life (a daughter who died at seven; a son permanently brain-damaged by an accident; another daughter drug addicted and alcoholic; a husband who left her; several strokes) but still kept the faith until the end. Whatever one’s sins in younger years, this is a beautiful testimony of a sincere conversion.
3) Gary Cooper’s daughter later reconciled herself with her. Again, we see Christian charity at work and the authentic change in a person being recognised even by those most offended by her past behaviour.
4) It seems to be women often helping men to conversion to Catholicism. Gary Cooper is one case and John Wayne is a second one. Women have so many beautiful vocations within the Church. It is just that the priesthood is not among them.
As the author of the article points out, as long as there is life, there is hope.