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"Chicago I thought, what the heck would I do with a city girl!"

Dear St. Raphael's,

A big hello to everybody out there trying to find their mate. I can tell you that this Catholic internet single's site works, it works great! I signed up with St. Raphael the first week of December 2002 with great trepidation. I had known of the St. Raphael site for some time and although I had desired many times to sign-up, I didn't. Why not? You may ask. Because I was afraid.

I was afraid that if I tried internet dating and it didn't work, then for all intents and purposes, my hopes of finding my woman (at least anything short of a miracle) were all but gone. I live in rural Montana where an orthodox Catholic woman is as hard to come by as a three-legged platypus. They may be out there, but what rare and elusive creatures they are!

After reviewing St. Raphael's success stories page one last time I decided to go through the sign-up process. The next thing you know, I'm *on-line* for all the (Catholic) world to see. How exciting it was those first days as a new member of St. Raphael! I must have had some fifty or sixty *encounters* within the first week. Wow, what fun! At the same time I was searching on my own, and finding about seven girls that I thought fit my ideal of what I was looking for. I was writing many one-time notes to some of these women, and with a few, a regular exchange began. As time progressed though one by one it became clear to me that a married future was not to be with any of these women. Then, the novelty of being the *new kid on the block* wore off causing women's desire to *encounter* me to slack off. I became saddened and discouraged as my greatest apprehension seemed to be coming true. By the third week of that same December I found myself not logging on to St. Raphael's site much at all. Accepting my fate as a single man for the rest of my born days…or so I thought!

Then one day an e-mail came to me from a woman in Chicago. Chicago I thought, what the heck would I do with a city girl! It ended up that this city girl and I hit it off right away, and most strange of all, she had yet to make herself visible to me via a photo. Her bio-page was devoid of any photographs. Our writings became fast and furious as we found more and more in common. I knew there was something special happening and we couldn't get enough of one another! After some four-days of writing, another e-mail showed up, but this time something was different. Low and behold attached to this e-mail was a photo. I was very pleased with what I saw. What a beautiful woman she was! Now get this, by the sixth-day of writing back and forth (we had as yet not spoken on the phone) I knew I was going to marry this city girl from Chicago!

What the heck was going on here? Was I going mad? Less than a week into knowing her, I asked her for her phone number and she kindly obliged my request. Her voice was enchanting (by the way, she told me later that when she heard my voice the first time, she knew right then that she was going to marry me) and that day was the start of a whirlwind week of phone calls. Many, many phone calls! By the end of our first week of talking I had figured out that we had spent some twenty (that's right, twenty!) hours talking on the phone. We would talk till the wee hours, sleep, and then the first one to wake up in the morning would call the other, by which we would end up conversing till noon! We talked of meeting, and so I made plans for me to fly out to Chicago and meet her. I made the flight date twenty-one days into the future, and while we were waiting for that date to arrive; from the very first phone call, till the last one just before I left for the airport, we totaled up ninety (your read correctly), ninety-hours talking on the phone!

The day of rendezvous finally came and we were both very nervous. What if in person we didn't like each other? She met me at the baggage claim of O'Hare International Airport and from the first moment we knew that the wonder we shared over the phone would become part of our every day lives. Two days later we attended Mass at St. John Cantius Church of Chicago and afterward, we toured the church taking in it's beauty. At the St. Faustina Shrine we decided to kneel in prayer and ask her intercession, and while doing so, an overwhelming desire fell upon me to ask Mary Frances to marry. With tears in my eyes I asked for her hand, slid an engagement ring over her finger and asked her to marry me. She quickly said yes!

That was February 16, 2003. It is now March 31, 2003 as I write this. Currently we are in the middle stages of planning our marriage which is to take place in the not to distant future at St. John Cantius Church of Chicago. We both want to thank St. Raphael for giving orthodox Catholics a place to find each other. Without your services, we would have never met, and we would never know the joy of loving one another. To those still looking for that special person, we have two bits of advice:

  1. Pray for the Grace that would help you become the individual that a great, God-centered person would want in their life.
  2. Have faith, the walk-on-water kind!

Best wishes to all in your search. May the Lord bless you, and Mary keep you.
Gino and Mary Frances

Mary Frances & Gino have since been married [read full story]

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