The Dispatch: More from CWR...

Jewish actor converts to Catholicism: the Virgin Mary ‘is my most beautiful love’

CNA Staff   By CNA Staff

Gad Elmaleh / Our Lady of Lourdes / Credit: Georges Biard (CC BY-SA 3.0) / Credit: Public domain

CNA Newsroom, Nov 10, 2022 / 16:00 pm (CNA).

The famous Jewish actor and humorist Gad Elmaleh, beloved in France, announced his conversion to the Catholic faith, a process in which he says the Virgin Mary played a crucial role.

Elmaleh, 51, was the partner of Charlotte Casiraghi, the daughter of Princess Caroline of Monaco, with whom they have a son named Rafael.

His conversion to Catholicism is depicted in his new film, “Reste un peu,” (“Stay a while”).

The Jewish actor, who according to the Spanish newspaper El Mundo will take the name of Jean-Marie when he is baptized, has studied theology in Paris, and in 2019 he participated in a musical in London about St. Bernadette Soubirous, the visionary who saw Our Lady of Lourdes.

Elmaleh told the French newspaper Le Figaro that “the Virgin Mary is my most beautiful love” and expressed his surprise that in France the “vast majority of Catholics don’t live their faith openly.”

As a child, he recounted in the interview, he entered a church and saw an image of the Mother of God.

“It wasn’t a vision, just a simple statue, but I was petrified. I began to cry and hid for fear of being discovered by my family, for fear of curses and superstition. I kept it a secret for my entire childhood,” he recalled.

The new movie

In an interview on the program “L’invité” (“The Guest”), posted Nov. 9 on YouTube, Elmaleh spoke about the film “Reste un peu,” which will open in France Nov. 16.

The actor’s actual parents are in the film, who are not very “happy” with his decision to convert to Catholicism but who have chosen to give him their support.

The actor and humorist said that “it’s true that it’s a spiritual, religious coming out. There’s a lot of mixture of fiction and reality,” but “it’s true that I question myself at the age of 50.”

“It’s a search in which I ask myself where, who, when, there’s a God, there is no God,” he said, but he affirms that “the Virgin Mary calls me and protects me.”

In the interview, Elmaleh recounted that he saw an image of the Mother of God “when I was a boy in Morocco, in Casablanca, where there were Christians, Jews, Muslims, a country that’s an example of incredible fraternity; but at the same time a certain taboo with Christianity and the churches.”

“I couldn’t go into the churches because it was a sin, it was prohibited; but when I was 6 or 7 years old, I entered one and said to myself, ‘It’s not bad here, why do they prohibit me?’” the actor said.

Elmaleh said he hopes the film engenders “some questioning” in people who see it and stressed that it is “mainly [a] testimony, a love story.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.

About Catholic News Agency 9055 Articles
Catholic News Agency (


  1. Welcome home my brother in Christ. Check out the Hebrew Catholic association. I believe the end times will be near when many Jews find their way home in the Church. Perhaps we will once again have a Hebrew Pope. Please don’t loose your Hebrew identity. May God continue to bless you and your family. Your brother in Christ James Connor age 83.

  2. Jesus is the King of the Jews. The Jews are the true vine and God has not forgotten them.

    John 15:1-27 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. …

    Romans 11:17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree,

    Psalm 80:8 You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it.

    Galatians 6:16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

    Romans 11:2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel?

  3. Question: Was his conversion the cause of his break up with the Princess’s daughter? It would be sad if so because the noble family are Catholic by name. Perhaps his conversion will eventually ignite an awakening of the practice of the Faith for her.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Jewish actor converts to Catholicism: the Virgin Mary ‘is my most beautiful love’ | Passionists Missionaries Kenya, Vice Province of St. Charles Lwanga, Fathers & Brothers
  2. 300000 youths make pilgrimage to Virgin of Itatí in Argentina - Catholic World Report - Catholic Colbert

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.