Her exposure to faith was ‘nonexistent,’ then great-grandparents changed everything
The conversion story of Lianna Garrison of Troy
By ANDREW HANSEN
Thirteen-year-old Lianna Garrison of Troy didn’t have a typical childhood. She experienced much heartache from her parents. God or any faith for that matter was nonexistent.
“I was being raised by people that weren’t ready to take on the responsibility of raising children,” Lianna said.
Fortunately, she and her younger sister, Laraina, were able to get out of what was a tough situation and moved in with their great-grandparents, Lisa and Ron Frey. Since that move a few years ago, the two girls have experienced many new things.
“Now that I am here, I am experiencing faith, family, and what a normal childhood is supposed to be like,” Lianna said. “I liked, and still do like, experiencing new things that I have never done before. For example, I recently had my first real vacation to Florida, am in Girl Scouts, and participate in school activities.”
Since Lianna moved in with her great-grandparents, which started during the pandemic, she started watching church online. Her great-grandparents started talking to her about God, they taught Lianna and her sister how to pray before every meal and to pray before bedtime, adding prayers one at a time. When COVID restrictions were lifted, they started attending Mass together in person. Her great-grandparents also answered any questions she and her sister had about the Catholic faith.
“When I started going to Mass, I found that I was very curious about everything,” Lianna said. “I wanted to know what being Catholic meant and what it would feel like to be part of the parish community. I like the music and the readings because they are very calming and fascinating.”
That curiosity continued to grow until she decided to join the Catholic Church. Last year, the Triad Middle School student was initiated into the faith at St. Jerome Parish in Troy, receiving the sacrament of baptism, confirmation, and first holy Communion.
“If I had to describe this day, I would say ‘special,’” Lianna said. “I lit the fire outside the narthex. The vigil service was so moving, and then there was a reception afterward. It was just so special beyond words.”
Lianna says receiving Jesus present in the holy Eucharist for the first time was “fulfilling.” Now on fire for our faith, Lianna has gotten actively involved and says that she loves Youth Group and spending time helping out in the community, the church, and at Vacation Bible School.
“God, the saints, and the Church give me comfort by giving me piece of mind,” Lianna said. “It feels like you don’t need all the answers, just faith. My favorite thing about my faith is having Someone (God) that will always be on my side.”