Goodall's religious life came alive as a teenager, when her priest's vivid sermons made "the Christian religion come alive." As a teenager, Goodall strived to "let the Holy Ghost creep into my being." Indeed, she was so fixated upon Christ's sacrifice on the Cross that Goodall became "preoccupied with torture," writing agonizing poems and dreaming of martyrdom.
But Goodall's understanding of faith was expanded when she got to know chimpanzees. However much Goodall learned about love in church, she learned even more from her chimps, whose loyalty and affection sustained Goodall through many lonely weeks in the forest. It was there, surrounded by the "spiritual power that was so real," that Goodall found "the peace that passeth all understanding."