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The supernatural sets Hollywood star’s sight on Heaven

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Joelle Maryn with fellow Catholic actor Mark Wahlberg.
Joelle Maryn with fellow Catholic actor Mark Wahlberg.

Joelle Maryn had the world at her feet. Poised on a Hollywood rooftop before cameras and lights, in an elaborate gown worth thousands of dollars, she held a compact mirror up to her face—but didn’t recognise the person looking back.

Ms Maryn says her life was “smashed to pieces” when she was six years old and a house fire took her older sister Maria’s life. At that point she gave up her childhood Catholic faith.

Ms Maryn will visit Sydney in March to launch her autobiography Master of the Pieces, in which she recounts her return to faith, with a book tour at the invitation of Parousia Media.

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Her return to faith began with the experience of growing up on the stage and living a celebrity lifestyle from the age of 14, which eventually taught her “the things of the world do not satisfy.”

As her star rose, she appeared on TV, book covers and in magazines. She was on a Times Square billboard, with her own cosmetics company gaining national attention.

“I hid behind roles. I played a lot that were very sweet, they call it the ingénue, because I liked to pretend I had a perfect life.”

“Because I lost that sense of identity at a young age and lost that trust and hope in God, I started looking for my identity in the world,” Ms Maryn told The Catholic Weekly via zoom.

“I hid behind roles. I played a lot that were very sweet, they call it the ingénue, because I liked to pretend I had a perfect life.

“But at one point I found myself in the role of a very dark character, doing something I never thought that I would do. I was completely desensitised to right from wrong.”

Back to that day in 2012, Joelle returned to her swish hotel suite utterly miserable. She finally opened her heart to God and prayed.

What happened next was what the church refers to as an illumination or awakening of conscience, she later found.

“I was walking from the bathroom to the closet and stopped in my tracks. I saw my whole life flash in front of my eyes, all my sins and their ripple effect,” she said.

Joelle Maryn holds awards for Fully Known, a short film based on her own reversion. Photo: Supplied
Joelle Maryn holds awards for Fully Known, a short film based on her own reversion. Photo: Supplied

“I saw that I was given a gift of leadership and I was taking people in the wrong direction.

“Some of the saints and the catechism tells us that we will all at the time of our death be faced with the question, ‘Did you love?’

“The way I saw it all my sins were in a large column on the left and then I was shown a column to the right, and that showed when I had loved and it was just like a tiny line.

“I saw that I didn’t love, and the pain of that hurt even more.

“The last part I was shown was that the last column came over and crushed the bad one, it weighed much more than my sin.

“Today she is back to acting and TV hosting but now as a full-time Catholic actress.”

“I didn’t know the Bible at the time, I didn’t know that love covers a multitude of sins.”

Following her vision Ms Maryn returned to the sacraments, sought a spiritual director and changed her life.

Today she is back to acting and TV hosting but now as a full-time Catholic actress, speaker and evangelist.

Her book tour will visit several Sydney parishes from 14-20 March and she will also speak at two day retreats.

She says her story is ultimately one of God’s mercy and joy.

“It’s my life story but I’ve also written it to help guide readers into their own story and their own brokenness. It’s about letting God go into that woundedness and finding out who we truly are in Christ.”

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