Deathbed Conversions: Finding Faith at the Finish Line

Famous -- and lesser known -- deathbed conversions can affirm anyone

HUNTINGTON, Indiana, November 18, 2013 – Scandal, intrigue, murder, theft, adultery – is hardly the stuff of happy endings. In Deathbed Conversions: Finding Faith at the Finish Line (Our Sunday Visitor, 2013), Karen Edmisten reveals that deathbed conversions usually “don’t track in straight lines,” but are full of twists and turns, dramatic and heartbreaking. In the profiles she puts forth, they all led to redemption, even in the last minutes of life.

Deathbed Conversions tells the true stories of 13 people, some famous, others obscure, who found faith at the end of their lives – minutes, days, or months before death. Edmisten shares insights into the sometimes life-long process of conversion of:

  • Oscar Wilde, poet, writer, and out-of-control hedonist
  • Dutch Shultz, mobster, murderer, extortionist, gambler , and “Public Enemy Number One”
  • Patricia Neal, ambitious actress and Academy Award Winner – and abortion survivor
  • John Wayne, wildly beloved actor, drinker, and adulterer
  • Alexis Carrel, Nobel Prize Winning doctor and brilliant inventor, and skeptic
  • King Charles II, Buffalo Bill, Wallace Stevens, Kenneth Clark, John von Neumann, Aubrey Beardsley, Heywood Broun, and Gary Cooper.

Author and EWTN host Mike Aquilina stated that Deathbed Conversions, “has all the attractive power of the supermarket tabloids – big celebrity names, sex, violence. But with the grace, eloquence, and profundity of Augustine’s Confessions.”

Edmisten also explores the Christian/Catholic view of deathbed conversions, and shares her own conversion from atheism to Catholicism.


For an interview with Karen Edmisten, please contact Christine Valentine-Owsik at: (215) 230-8095 or

About Our Sunday Visitor

The world’s largest English-language Catholic publisher, Our Sunday Visitor serves millions of Catholics globally through its publishing, offertory, and communication services. Established in 1912, Our Sunday Visitor publishes a wide range of books including Bibles, biographies of the saints, books by Pope Francis, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, children’s books, devotionals, bible studies, inspirational works, and curriculum. Our Sunday Visitor is a not-for-profit organization, returning a portion of net earnings back to the Catholic community through the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.  For more information, visit

About the Author

Karen Edmisten, a former atheist who converted to Catholicism at the age of 35, is a freelance writer, frequent guest on Catholic radio, and author of The Rosary: Keeping Company with Jesus and Mary, Through the Year with Mary, and After Miscarriage. She has contributed to several other books, including Style, Sex, and Substance, Atheist to Catholic, and A Little Way of Homeschooling, and writes for a variety of magazines.