So she did it.
My best friend got married this weekend leaving me alone and single and she’s leaving on her honeymoon to FRANCE in a day. Darn her.
I’m kidding. I’m thrilled for her. She’s dated this guy for 10 years for heaven’s sakes; it was time. But I have been a little emotional this past week, thinking about everything we’ve been through and worried about what might change. I’m know she’ll be fine. I think I’ll be fine. I know…it’s my pity party and I’ll cry if I want to.
But as her maid of honor, I had to give a toast last Saturday to her and her new husband. I ended up forgetting to actually toast at the end of it – so did two of the other three toasters, though. I blame the open bar – but I think the sentiment came across anyways. I hope, too, that reading it will give you a good taste of my Catholic education, which has truly shaped my spiritual life and outlook. Enjoy.
Hello everyone. My name is Christina Mahady and I am Katie’s maid-of-honor. True to the title, I am completely honored to be here today supporting my best friend and her new husband. As everyone knows, this day has been a long time coming – years of planning and preparation have gone into bringing today about and I’m sure I speak for everyone here when I say what a beautiful one it has been. Congratulations to you both!
I’ve had a long time to think about what I was going to say today and I have to admit: it’s been a struggle. When you’ve been friends for as long as we have, you almost have an EXCESS of material to work with and, as a writer, no simple toast would do.
But inspiration finally hit me last week, when a young friend of mine attended her Freshman Orientation at Visitation, the school where both Katie and I attended. She spoke of it with such enthusiasm – about all the teachers, the classes she was taking, and the new girls she had met. She was so excited to finally be a “Vis girl.” Of course, with any Vis story, nostalgia inevitably kicks in and I couldn’t help telling her about my own Freshman Orientation 13 years ago when I met the girl who would end up being my best friend – the newly-married lady sitting right next to me.
Katie and I learned a lot during our time at Visitation – not just school lessons, but lessons from the school of life as well. Such as:
- The importance of a healthy breakfast (for Katie, Carnation Instant Breakfast and me, a Diet Coke and Pop Tarts from the vending machines)
- The prime time to ask boys to a dance (for an April dance our freshman year, Katie set the record for asking a date the earliest – January.)
- And the irony in taking driver’s ed from an instructor named “Crash”.
- We were even learned enough in our senior year to realize that the mission trip to Guatemala just “wasn’t for us” and instead decided to work in the convent attached to our school; wrapping caramels, working in the garden and visiting with the Sisters. (Wise, weren’t we?).
But by attending a school founded by saints, you couldn’t very well leave without a little religious knowledge as well. Visitation was founded in the 1610 by St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal and so along with the finely-honed skill of skirt-rolling, all Vis girls were taught the Salesian virtues set by St. Francis which, if followed, were said to provide a sure yet simple path to holiness.
What we could not appreciate in high school, though, was that these “little virtues” could also be a sure yet simple path to a happy marriage.
- Simplicity – So that you can appreciate that the greatest joys in life are often the simplest ones.
- Gentleness – So that you always remember to take care – physically and emotionally – of each other.
- Humility – So that if – or when – you’re ever in the wrong, you can admit it and ask for forgiveness.
- Patience – So that you can endure any trials, both big and small, that may come
- Liberty of spirit – So that you can remind each other what it is you love about one another.
- Joy – So that you may find happiness in your everday lives
- Optimism – So that tomorrow always looks brighter than today
- Graciousness – So that you can welcome many more friends and family into your lives
- Interiority – So that you never lose sight of who you are
- Faithful response to the will of God – So that you never forget that you were end up is where God has intended you to be…including here today.
And since, as a Visitation graduate, the bride has already mastered these virutues, I think it fitting that I present Nick with this gift to always remind him of what he has to live up to and also where he found his greatest find. [I handed him a T-shirt with the words “I Married A Vis Girl” written on it].
I’d like to close with a quote from St. Francis de Sales: “Friendships begun in this world will be taken up again, never to be broken off.”
Katie, you will always be my best friend and I will always be there for you. I love you so much and wish you all the happiness in the world.
The Visitation school motto is “Non scholae, sed vitae” or “Not for school, but for life,” and even though she’s a married lady now, I know that Katie will be there for me – for life.