Christine Watkins, a former ballerina and atheist who converted to Catholicism, will be the featured speaker at the next West San Fernando Valley Magnificat Prayer Meal on Feb. 4, 10 a.m. at the Odyssey Restaurant, Granada Hills.

Raised in a non-religious home, Watkins said she found Christians “annoying and misguided by a fairy tale, but also suffered from mild 

depression and low self-esteem until she discovered ballet. “My God became the world of dance,” she said as she performed with the San Francisco Ballet Company. 

When injuries developed, she looked to the New Age movement for answers, but eventually found unhappiness, empty relationships and extreme health problems. Then, “by the Grace of God,” she converted to Catholicism after receiving a miraculous healing from Jesus through Mary, which she says saved her from death.

Since then Watkins has served the Church as a spiritual director, counselor, licensed social worker, retreat leader, and post-abortion counseling and education director. She has been featured on the FOCUS Television Network and was recently interviewed for ABC Nightline’s special on the Virgin Mary. 

Her new book, “Full of Grace: Miraculous Stories of Healing and Conversion through Mary’s Intercession,” is available from Ave Maria Press. She holds a Master’s degree in Theological Studies from the Jesuit School of Theology at the Graduate Theological Union and a Master’s degree in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare. She lives in Alameda with her husband and two sons.

Magnificat is a ministry to Catholic women. For reservations for the Magnificat Prayer Meal ($26, or $30 after Jan. 23), call (818) 998-0865 or (818) 346-5460.