After a lifetime of living in denial of God, Australia’s former governor-general, Bill Hayden has given his life to Christ.
At the age of 85, Hayden was baptized at St. Mary’s Church near Brisbane on September 9.
The former atheist says that a period of time reflecting after his stroke and seeing the “selfless acts of compassion by Christians” over his lifetime led to his official decision.
Following his stroke 4 years ago, Hayden says he found there was “more to life than just me.”
“I had to make a dedication of myself for the good of others, before God,” he added. “I felt that strongly.”
The former governor-general also felt a “gnawing pain in [his] heart and soul about the meaning of life.”
His final prompt to turn away from darkness and into the light of Christ came by way of hospital visit from a 93-year-old nun named Angela Mary Doyle, who was well-known for working with the poor.
“[I] always felt embraced and loved by her Christian example,” said Hayden.
“Dallas [his wife], our daughter Ingrid and I recently visited Sister Angela Mary in the Mater Hospital where she was a patient,” he continued. “The next morning I woke with the strong sense that I had been in the presence of a holy woman. So after dwelling on these things I found my way back to the core of those beliefs — the Church.”
“This took too long, and now I am going to be devoted,” Hayden said on the day of his baptism. “From this day forward, I’m going to vouch for God.”
One of Australia’s iconic Labor leaders and former Governor General Bill Hayden has been baptised a Catholic at the age of 85, and after a lifetime as a declared atheist. #auspol #australianlabor #CatholicChurch https://t.co/UorKtQKH7k pic.twitter.com/CJdIMzZViO
— The Catholic Leader (@TheCatholicLead) September 18, 2018
“It was a big thing for him,” remarked Father Peter Dillon, the priest who baptized the 85-year-old. “An act of submission to the fact that there was no denying for him that God is real and he had come to discover that.”