Olivia was reaching the end of her college years at St. Mary’s in South Bend, Indiana and she was feeling a little frustrated. “I had not met, what I considered…to be a good Catholic man,” she said. The end of a relationship in her freshman year led her to take a break from dating and focus on school, but as she got closer to the finish line she was ready to step out.
Her mom and some friends encouraged her to try CatholicMatch, even if she was a skeptic herself. And it was almost precisely one year to the day of this story that she encountered a profile that left her a little overwhelmed.
Alex was 23-years-old and living in the Tucson area and his very thorough description of himself gave Olivia a glimpse into who she was and she really liked what she saw. “I had sent out a number of emotigrams and personal messages, but Alex had me perched on the end of my chair, nervous and anxious on how to proceed,” she recalled.
A short message asking about his personal interests was her chosen path, and that quickly grew to lengthy correspondence, which eventually gave way to seven-hour phone conversations and daily video dates on Skype.
“We discussed every aspect of our lives,” Olivia told CatholicMatch. “Particularly our Catholic beliefs. We began to pray together nightly, which helped us feel close, despite our almost 3,000 mile distance apart.”
The distance took an emotional tool. Olivia candidly described it was “agonizing”, that she couldn’t simply go out to dinner and have a normal date with him. But Alex was also finishing school, and after a month of the intensive messages, phone and Skype dates, they were convinced they knew each other better than either had known anyone in their lives.
Alex and Olivia kept praying, and they involved their parents in the process and last September, Alex was on the plane to Chicago so they could meet face-to-face.
The first weekend together was filled with faith, family, friends and fun. Olivia’s family and friends were there and they attended a Notre Dame football game. They went to Mass together and they enjoyed watching Lord of the Rings with each other.
After the weekend was over, the long distance relationship continued, and they had to remind themselves of three P’s—patience, perseverance and prayer as they navigated not only the distance, but the challenges of a three-hour time difference.
But now the timing of their respective academic careers turned things in their favor. Alex was a year ahead of Olivia and had begun his search for work as a software developer. Instead of looking on the west coast, he targeted the area closer to South Bend and sure enough, landed employment in Chicago. He moved to the Midwest in January 2012.
Now the couple was just a ninety-minute drive away and the weekends they spent together increased their affection and commitment. This past St. Patrick’s Day, a Saturday afternoon, saw them make a customary trip to Notre Dame for confession. Afterward Alex was persistent in wanting to take a walk around the campus.
“(We) sat at a bench where we had sat the very first weekend we met. It was there that Alex took my hand, got down on one knee and asked if I would marry him,” Olivia recalled. “One added detail made the proposal all the more special…minutes before, in confession, Alex asked the priest to bless the ring.”
The proposal and Olivia’s acceptance was the result of a lot of time in prayer, as she knelt and bowed her head, to ask God for patience and reassurance. “I can say with great joy that God not only answered my prayers, but gave me so much more than I ever could have hoped for,” she told CatholicMatch. “Alex is everything I want in a husband and 10,000 other things I never thought I would want or need in a husband.”
On January 5, Alex and Olivia will marry in the Church Of Our Lady of Loretto, on the campus of St. Mary’s.