Before Obi Wan saved Princess Leia, Jesus saved Obi Wan - Miracle led 'Star Wars' star Sir Alec Guinness to Catholicism
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Sir Alec Guinness has appeared in countless motion pictures. He is probably best known as the eternally wise sage Obi-Wan Bin Kenobi in the original "Star Wars." Guinness converted to Catholicism at the age of 42, due in no small part to an actual miracle.
Sir Alec Guinness has appeared in countless motion pictures. He is probably best known as the eternally wise sage Obi-Wan Bin Kenobi in the original "Star Wars."
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Born in 1914 in London, Guinness grew up in a family without a father. Confirmed in the Anglican faith at 16, he remained uncommitted in regards to religion. Guinness dallied with Presbyterianism, atheism, Marxism, Buddhism, even attended a few Quaker meetings. Being British, he had no interest in the teachings of the Catholic Church.
It was while rehearsing for the play "Hamlet" that an Anglican priest explained that Guinness was blessing himself wrong and showed him the correct way. Guinness regained some interest in Anglicanism following that encounter.
Walking down the street in priestly attire, a child mistook actor Sir Alec Guinness to be a genuine Catholic priest. Running up to join him, he grabbed his hand trustingly, and walked with Guinness down the road.
He remained Anglican throughout World War II. It was not until 1954 when Guinness was 40 years old that the door would open to reconsider Catholicism.
While acting in the film "Father Brown," based on G. K. Chesterton's well known fictional crime-solving priest, Guinness starred in the titular role. Walking down the street in priestly attire, a child mistook him to be a genuine Catholic priest. Running up to join him, he grabbed his hand trustingly, and walked with Guinness down the road.
The trust and affection the child displayed for Catholic priests had a deep impact on Guinness and made him start to seriously consider Catholicism.
"Continuing my walk, I reflected that a Church that could inspire such confidence in a child, making priests, even when unknown, so easily approachable, could not be as scheming or as creepy as so often made out. I began to shake off my long-taught, long-absorbed prejudices."
Guinness' son Matthew later contracted polio and appeared to be close to death. Seeking divine help, Guinness started dropping by a local Catholic church to pray.
The actor struck a deal with God: If God healed Matthew, he would allow his son to become Catholic if he wanted.
Matthew miraculously recovered. As a result, both Guinness and his wife enrolled him in a Jesuit school. Guinness, his wife, and his son all converted to Catholicism shortly afterwards.
Guinness remained a faithful Catholic the rest of his life until he died in 2000.
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