Veronica Hughes aka Polly St. John Hughes, author of THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE
Picture of Veronica and her late husband, Greg on their 25th wedding anniversary.
A little about me and my Eastern Orthodox Conversion Story:
I am a native San Franciscan currently living in Sacramento, CA. Due to health issues in my early 20s, I began a spiritual journey in quest of inner peace and healing. I felt my soul and body were connected and if my soul could heal, perhaps so could my body.
I was a lapsed Catholic who studied Eastern religions. I had a guru and Tibetan lama, practiced prayer and fasting, and meditation techniques. I studied metaphysics, channeling and the life of the soul, which I later taught to others.
Yet, after twenty-five years of seeking within the New Age and Eastern religions, I was left depressed and spiritually unfulfilled. Thanks to my late husband, Gregory and the grace of God, my spiritual journey ultimately allowed me to convert to back to Christianity, find God and open my heart newly to Jesus Christ through the study of ancient Christianity in the Eastern Orthodox Church.
I am the author of three published books, The Pearl of Great Price and In Christ I am a New Creation, Part I, Taking up my Cross and St. Veronica, an Eastern Orthodox Historical Overview and Liturgical Service. I am currently working on my fourth book, In Christ I am a New Creation Part II, A Leap of Faith.
St. Veronica is the woman with the issue of blood, whom the Lord healed (Matt. 9:20).
I am passionate about:
Eastern Orthodox Christianity (Orthodoxy) since my Christian conversion in 1996.
My relationship with Jesus Christ
Striving to live in the world, but not be of the world
Talking about spiritual warfare
Helping others come to peace with the Church and God
Connecting with other Orthodox Christians about their spiritual experiences
Living a full life while dealing with chronic health issues
My dogs and gardening
My saint, St. Veronica
About my spiritual journey and Eastern Orthodox Christian conversion story:
A two part podcast from 2009 - Kevin Allen interviews Veronica Hughes
Forward to The Pearl of Great Price:
I am writing this book for those spiritual seekers earnestly desiring an encounter with the living God. On my journey, I meandered through several religions, movements, metaphysical studies and spiritual practices; indeed, the metaphor that best describes the first half of my life's journey is that of walking a labyrinth.[i] When I walked an actual labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral in France in 1983, I was given a short booklet of instructions about how to navigate the circular pathway. However, because (as a lapsed Catholic) the directions[ii] were too Catholic for me at the time, I did not read them fully. How I wish I had truly read and followed those instructions! How I approached that walk, unfortunately, was how I approached all of my spiritual questions up to that point, which is to say that my self and ego loomed too large for me to discover the presence of God on the path.
I did arrive at the center and felt pleased and relieved; not everyone is able to accomplish this task in the first attempt. As I walked my way back out that day in Chartres, my ego relished the satisfaction of having solved the puzzle, yet at the same time I knew I had missed "something." What was the something I had missed? If I had read the directions fully, I would have realized that my journey in this labyrinth was not so much intended for self-revelation, but was meant to bring me out of myself, closer to God. I had missed the whole point of the process—hence, my lingering, nagging disappointment.
This would prove to be the spiritual pattern of my life, until one day I realized that no matter how many times I reached what I thought was my spiritual center, I was not truly where I wanted to be because I still wasn't standing in the presence of the living God. Never could I have planned or imagined that my journey as a seeker would lead me to where I am now, or to who I am now. That is why, after years of searching, having arrived at the end of my own solutions and attempts at encountering God, I was willing to say yes to the dramatic choice that confronted me.
But I am getting ahead of myself, so permit me to go back to the beginning. Here is the story of my journey to find my "Pearl of Great Price."
[ii] Walking the Chartres Labyrinth, seekers are guided by a group of prayerful questions related to one's relationship with and journey to God. Each turn presents an opportunity for one to ponder an aspect of one's relationship with God. Finding the center of the labyrinth with these guided steps helps the pilgrim ponder what it means to be with God. One's journey is not over when one reaches the center of the labyrinth; rather, reaching the center is only the first half of the journey. One's return or exit from the labyrinth is intended to bring what one has learned relative to God back into one's life —— a life hopefully more devoted to God.