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Our Amazing Story (The four of us)…

In
our day and age, the world sees news stories of of failed marriages and
heart breaking stories of the things people who are supposed to love
each other do to each other. In our time, when it seems impossible to
find a spouse of substance, great faith, dedication, and zeal for the
Lord, God answered our prayers and sent us amazing spouses. In our
century, that is unheard of. After spending time searching, to our
amazement it was God who was waiting for us to pray and ask. When it
was time, His plan was fulfilled.

It all began on January 16,
2004 with an email on Catholic Match, then called St. Raphael.net.
Strike that. It actually began earlier than that. Let me explain. In
October of 2003, I (Bryant), a former seminarian of St. Joseph Seminary
in Louisiana, decided to move in with Matt, then Director of Religious
Education (DRE) of St. Stephen Church. As roommates, we instantly
bonded, with our shared love of the theology of the Church and our
sense of humor. Unbeknownst to us, two sisters, Cheryl and Jane, moved
in with one another, in a house in Charlotte, NC, in October 2003. They
had grown up together, and after being away from each other for over a
decade, they were once again able to resume their relationship as close
sisters. All of us had been praying, especially to St. Raphael and our
Lady of Perpetual Help, to find a spouse.

And now, fast forward to January…

My
couisin started talking to my roommate and me, about a site she found
on the Internet for Catholic Singles. It was called straphael.net. I
was hesitant at first and my roommate wanted me to sign up before he
would venture in the world of the online singles. At the same time,
Cheryl and Jane’s mom, a third order Carmelite nun, started to do
likewise to them. On January 9, I got an email from Cheryl stating her
interest in my seminary experience. We exchanged emails for a few days
and on the 16th I called her cell phone with an enormous amount of
anxiety.

We talked for a little bit, and she commented that she
was on her way to her mom’s house in Buies Creek, which was close to
Sanford where Matt and I lived. I hinted at the possibility of meeting
up, and she said that was fine, but she wanted to bring her sister. Was
that okay with me? At first, I didn’t know what to say, but then I
remembered my roommate. I asked if it would be okay to bring him and
she said “Yes”. Much to my astonishment, when I got off the phone I
asked him if he wanted to go, and he agreed.

That night, we met
up at a pool hall called Local Joe’s. Matt and I were playing pool when
they walked in and at first, we did not recognize each other because
neither of us had posted up any pictures on our profile. But I
suspected the two when they walked in and began to search around. I
approached them, and asked them if they were who I thought they were.
They confirmed, but already were joking around with me as to who was
who. I had to admit that I was relieved to see that they had a sense of
humor. I introduced them to Matt and we proceeded to talk about God for
the next three hours straight, until two in the morning. It was one of
the most amazing nights of my life. At closing, we walked them outside
and said our awkward good-byes. They had mentioned the possibility of
going to Mass together the next night, but they never called to confirm
so we thought we had reached a dead end. On the drive home, Cheryl
& Jane were in quite a bit of shock. After all these years, of
running into dead end relationships and not being able to find anyone
remotely faithful and spiritually mature, they actually found two who
they are in sync with on faith, and they were quite attractive young
men.

Monday, Cheryl emailed me about how things went. I was
surprised to get the email and I emailed back that we had a good time
as well. We kept talking for two weeks and we decided to go on another
date, this time with Christ more involved. So Matt and I drove over to
Buies Creek to meet the girls and go to Saturday Vigil Mass with them
at a church neither Matt nor I had ever gone to. On the way to meet
them, Matt & I started talking about the Mass and how it used to be
in the Pre-Vatican II era. We reminisced on how the Hail Mary and St.
Michael the Archangel prayers used to be said in Mass and how great it
would be if they were brought back.

When we arrived at their
mom’s house, we met Emmie Turner, their mother, the third order
Carmelite. The inside of her house has more Catholic symbols than all
the churches of an archdiocese combined! It was awesome. We walked
around the room slowly (for fear of missing some relic we never heard
of) examining every book, statue and rosary she had. We were happily
amazed, and loving it.

After a few minutes of drooling at the
Catholic Store in disguise, we went with the girls to their church.
Sacred Heart was a quaint little church, nicely decorated and I liked
the feel of it immediately. The parishioners were silent in awe and
reverence, and the tabernacle was in the middle. (Yay!!!) During the
Mass, the priest actually said two things I had not yet heard said in a
Mass before: the Hail Mary and The St. Michael the Archangel prayers.
Matt and I looked at each other with each prayer said, and couldn’t
believe how God was working. We both knew then, that God was already
strongly in our midst on this date and the feeling of being blessed
never left me the whole night.

Afterward, we managed to squeeze
into a crowded restaurant, and had another awesome night of sharing our
faith and our experiences. We kept talking over the phone over the
course of the next two weeks until the next time we would meet up.
Because of the distance between us, meeting every couple weeks was a
good pace. We began to meet halfway (one-hour drive for both of us) for
our double dates. It was important for all of us to follow God’s
commandments and the distance gave us each a chance to really
investigate if the other person’s intentions was the same, because that
is what we were looking for: a diehard Catholic. As Father Corapi once
said: He would have the FBI out and searching if he were to get married.

The
girls’ mother has been preparing them for marriage since age 15. Their
mother taught them about the importance of finding a holy spouse and
having a holy marriage. She also used videos such as Father Corapi,
Mother Angelica, and various Saints. The girls also started going to
talks such as Theology on the Body by Christopher West. We were all
amazed that we all looked at marriage as a way to bring each other to
heaven. In knowing that, a great trust was formed. To love a person so
much to care for their soul, to desire heaven for them, was our goal.

In
February, I went to a retreat at Belmont Abbey with the girls (Matt
worked that weekend) and had a great time. As time grew on, it became
more and more clear that the four of us were meant to be together. This
became clear to Matt first. On March 29, 2004, only 2 ½ months after
they met, Matt proposed to Jane in Greensboro in front of the church he
found the Catholic faith in. The wedding was set for September 7.

Meanwhile,
Cheryl decided to move out of the house to give the about-to-be-married
couple a house of their own. So she bought a house…the one next door.
Matt and Jane married in September and visited lots of shrines,
cathedrals and such up and down the East coast for their honeymoon.

Finally,
it became clear to me in December, where I (quietly) proposed in front
of the Blessed Sacrament exposed at St. Gabriel’s Church. I felt only
appropriate to get our Father in Heaven’s blessing first. The wedding
was set for July 9, 2005 with Saint Gianna Beretta Molla as our wedding
patron saint. Once married, I moved in and now we are all next-door
neighbors!

We found spouses who have a great zeal for Christ,
but also a community of friends and family that we can go on retreats
with, eat lunches with, monks & nuns we know, have priests over for
visits, do rosaries together, and many other various Catholic things.
We enjoy visiting monasteries, going on retreats, going to adoration,
and reading many spiritual books. It is amazing to find even one person
who enjoys these things. Previously in our dating experiences, others
thought we were downright too religious, or crazy at our life’s
enjoyments. But we found two, and now we are four!

It is truly
amazing what God has planned for you when you ask, and say yes. We are
in the ages of 26-29 years old. Searching for friends of similar
natures has been found and to be blessed to find a spouse with such
faith for the rest of our lives is tremendous especially to know it is
heavenly blessed. We tremble to think of how awesome our Father in
Heaven is to even hear our prayers. We feel his presence and at moments
our eyes tear up to know he is truly present and holding us in the palm
of his hand.

Quite a story, huh? Never doubt the power of God. Keep praying and we hope your life will become as blessed as ours.

Peace in Christ,

Bryant & Cheryl and Matt & Valerie

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