BISMARCK, ND — When atheist Leah Libresco announced to the world in 2012 she was converting to Catholicism her Facebook post was shared 18,000 times. Her Patheos blog remarkably surpassed 150,000 page views.  


“I had one thing that I was most certain of, which is that morality is something we have a duty to,” Libresco told a CNN reporter, a small cross dangling from her neck. “And it is external from us. And when push came to shove, that is the belief I wouldn’t let go of. And that is something I can’t prove.”


Libresco is the guest speaker in University of Mary’s “Grounds for Belief” series, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, 8 p.m., in Butler Hall, Gary Tharaldson School of Business. The series is sponsored by the Center for University Ministry.


Leah Libresco WebLibresco, a graduate of Yale University and sought-after commentator on religion, literature, and popular culture, will speak on the theme of “Prayer as a Foreign Language.”


“Leah Libresco represents a new breed of convert,” says Dr. Peter Huff, director of the Center for University Ministry and professor of theology at the University of Mary. “Her roots in hard-core unbelief give her faith a dynamism and critical edge that are refreshing but also challenging. Convinced believers, troubled doubters, and seekers of all sorts will profit from her wit and insight.”


Leah Libresco grew up in an atheist household in New York. After years of arguing with “the most interesting wrong people I could find,” she says, she wound up conceding and becoming Catholic. Currently, she works for FiveThirtyEight as a news writer and covers on all things religious for Patheos. On her blog, “Unequally Yoked,” she describes herself as “a geeky convert who picks fights in good faith.” Libresco has contributed to First ThingsThe American Conservative, and The American Interest. Her first book, Arriving at Amen: Seven Catholic Prayers That Even I can Offer, narrates her journey into the fullness of Catholic prayer after her initial acceptance of Christian faith.


“Grounds for Belief” is University Ministry’s Thursday night speaker series. All talks are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Dr. Peter Huff at 701-355-8295 or