“I look around the church as we sing. I was expecting the Hollywood version of a monastery, something European looking, with vineyards and massive stone buildings and ivy-covered cloisters. I wanted sturdy monks singing with deep, vibrant voices, like the Gregorian chant CDs that I play at home when I take a hot bath and light candles and sticks of incense.
… Why am I here? To get a bit of rest. Read a few books. That’s what I thought, anyway. Now, I’m not sure.”
Richard Cole initially saw his trip to a monastery in western Texas as a retreat—to check out for a few days, maybe a chance to catch up on his reading. Instead, Cole embarks on a zigzagging roller coaster of emotion and examination as he discerns, dissects, and discovers the incredible vibrancy of the Catholic community. Catholic by Choice provides a funny and joyous look at adult Catholic conversion from the point of view of a modern convert, telling a deeply personal yet relatable story of discovery, doubt, and finding a place at God’s table.
Richard Cole is the author of two collections of poetry: The Glass Children and Success Stories. His poetry and prose have been published in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Sun, Hudson Review and Image Journal: Good Letters. He works as a business writer in Austin, TX. Learn more at www.richard-cole.net.