The Face Above Her Bed Said, 'Don't Be Afraid'
The conversion of Madeleine Enzlberger, a lost little Austrian girl who was found
The first thing I noticed when I met Madeleine Enzlberger this week in Vienna is that she glows. She really does. I’ve seen that sometimes with Christians whose faith has a certain purity. The sense of peace she exudes is especially striking when you consider that she is executive director of the Vienna-based NGO Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe, where she and her team keep track on rising persecution against Christians on a continent where few people seem to care.
When I asked her to tell me her conversion story, Madeleine, who is 33, took me into the sad story of a little girl whose grandfather had been a Nazi concentration camp guard, whose parents — her actress mother and left-wing politician father — were divorced and deeply dysfunctional. Madeleine spent her youth longing for the safe and stable home she never knew. Though she had been baptized a Catholic in her native Austria, God was a stranger to young Madeleine. As an adult, she made a mess of her life, trying to find a sense of stability and meaning, but only stumbling deeper into a ditch. In this, says Madeleine, she is typical of so many of her generation, failed by the adults who should have nurtured and cherished them.
And then one night, as she lay in bed next to her sleeping boyfriend, a miraculous thing happened, an event that changed her forever. And it wasn’t the only miracle that led her to faith in Christ. What follows is the transcript of our conversation yesterday in Vienna.