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Barack Mandela
Human Rights Attorney

Becoming a Saint like Mother Teresa

Barack Obama Mandela, who wants to become a Catholic saint, with a photo of Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa.

At the end of my life on Earth, I want to become a saint in the Roman Catholic Church.

My journey began when Father Nathan Castle baptized and confirmed me into the church during Easter Vigil in 1994 at Saint Andrew Newman Center in Riverside, California while I was a university student. As I joined the church, I received the Christian name “Mary” due to my powerful connection with the Virgin Mary.

Inspired by a deep faith in Jesus of Nazareth and the Holy Spirit, I completed courses in the Rite of Christian Initiation as an Adult (RCIA) while simultaneously studying political science at the University of California, Riverside.

Within the Catholic community, my role models and heroes are: Pope Francis, Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa. Saint Maria Goretti, Saint Edith Stein, and Saint Bernadette of Lourdes.

During my university career, I experienced powerful visions of Jesus and the Virgin Mary while living in my college dormitory.

In 1989, while living in the UC Riverside dormitories, I experienced three visions of Jesus Christ in my room. I saw a vision of Jesus, who appeared in the form of an African American, hovering near the ceiling of my room.

“Follow me into the light of the Holy Spirit,” the spiritual image of Jesus said to me.

I reached my hands towards the image of Jesus as tears streamed down my face. I felt a powerful, spiritual connection to the divine being.

Although I was raised by a strong Christian maternal grandmother in a God-centered church, I converted to Reform Judaism in 1995 and Orthodox Judaism in 1997. In 1996, I became a citizen of the State of Israel. From 2000-2002, I was a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

While I served honorably in the Israeli military, I never injured or harmed a Palestinian Arab. In fact, I always treated the Palestinians with respect for their human rights. While working check points, I sincerely respected the Palestinian Arab community. Although I was a soldier during war, my heart was filled with love, peace, and mercy.

As a Roman Catholic saint, I would like to become the patron saint of soldiers, the patron saint of Christians in Israel and the Palestinian areas, and the patron saint of Africans and African Americans.

In recognition of my past baptism and confirmation into the Catholic Church, I recently wrote a letter to Pope Francis asking that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. be declared an “honorary saint” in the Catholic Church. Dr. King was a Christian civil rights leader who maintained a powerful faith in God and a strong devotion to Christianity.

I also hope President Nelson Mandela will become an “honorary saint” in the Catholic Church in recognition of his strong support for equality, human rights, mercy, and fairness.

As a member of both the Jewish community and Catholic community, I hope to build a bridge of communication between the Jewish world and the Christian world. Jesus of Nazareth, the founder of Christianity, was a compassionate Jewish leader. Moreover, the Virgin Mary was a Jewish woman known as “Miriam ha-Betulah”. Therefore, Christianity has strong roots in Judaism.

I urge the State of Israel to launch a new effort called “The Israel-Christianity Engagement Campaign” designed to build stronger relationships with the Christian world. In addition, I urge the Israeli prime minister and foreign minister to visit the Vatican and Christian churches around the world.

Specifically, I urge Israeli leaders to meet with the following leaders: Pastor Joel Osteen, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Pastor Joyce Meyer, Pastor Paula White, Pastor Steven Furtick, Pastor Benny Hinn, Pastor Wayne Chaney, singer CeCe Winans, singer Kari Jobe, singer Kim Walker-Smith, singer Chris Tomlin, and Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles.

Christians and Jewish people are brothers and sisters in a common struggle against violence, war, poverty, and evil. By standing together, no one stands alone.

About the Author
Licensed Attorney. I earned a Doctor of Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law (1997). I earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Riverside (1994). I was an international student at the University of Costa Rica Faculty of Law (1991-1992) and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty of Law (Summer 1996). I am a military veteran of the United States Air Force, United States Army, and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). I am a laureate of the National Defense Service Medal from the Pentagon (2006). I am a financial donor to following: Harvard Law, Yale Law, Stanford Law, Berkeley Law, UC Hastings College of the Law, UC Davis Law, Columbine High School, Choate Rosemary Hall, Phillips Exeter Academy, Sidwell Friends School, Viewpoint School, Beverly Hills High School, Eton College in the United Kingdom, Special Olympics, Children's Defense Fund, Obama Foundation, Clinton Foundation, Barbra Streisand Foundation, Princeton University, Florida A&M, Howard University, Spelman College, Morehouse College, and the British Red Cross. I am former special assistant and staff attorney to Governor Pete Wilson of California. I was public affairs assistant to US Senator Barbara Boxer and Mayor Ehud Olmert of Jerusalem and Jerusalem spokesperson Haggai Elias.
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