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Ten Years a Catholic: A Conversion Story

Editor’s note: This piece was originally published in 2015. We share it today to supplement Rachel’s interview on Kresta in the Afternoon.

Ten years ago, on the Vigil of Pentecost, I received my first three sacraments and became a Roman Catholic. From an eternal standpoint, it was probably the best day of my life. It didn’t feel that way at the time.

It was a dark, broody sort of day, which matched my mood. A small group of friends watched as the priest banished the devil (there are many exorcisms in the Extraordinary Form adult baptismal rite), then rapidly baptized and confirmed me. I received my first Communion at the subsequent Mass. And there I was: citizen of Rome, member of Christ’s Body, enlisted for life in the Church Militant.

Shortly afterwards, a full-on thunderstorm ensued. Someone in the party suggested lightly that the angels were celebrating the return of another Prodigal Daughter. I smiled, but darker interpretations went flitting through my mind. I was trying to feel the gratitude and joy that seemed appropriate to the occasion, but truthfully, I didn’t feel like someone who had just “come home.” I felt more like someone who had been set adrift on the high seas.

Conversion is a challenging topic. As a writer, it seems like I should be well equipped to narrate my own conversion story, but somehow the details never quite add up. I can explain what I was reading at a particular point, or talk about people who influenced me, or describe my emotional states. No subjective account, however, can fully explain the result. Grace weaves its way into our lives in a way that surpasses our understanding. We stand at the Church door requesting sanctuary, and cannot ourselves explain quite how we got there.

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