It Lent of 2009 and Mary felt a crossroads, particularly in her dating life. A tough breakup had gone the previous year and the men she was meeting didn’t share her Catholic values. She put God in charge.
“I decided to give up dating as my Lenten Fast,” she recalled. “I asked God to open my eyes to which vocation He wanted me to follow…I realized that God wanted me to be married and have a family.” The 27-year-old from North Carolina put a profile on CatholicMatch to pursue that vocation.
Mary made an online connection with 33-year-old Aaron, though it took some time for her initial message to get a reply. In the interim, Mary used the prayer her own mother had used when she met her father—a novena to St. Ann, the mother of the Blessed Virgin.
“On the sixth day of the novena, I received an e-mail from Aaron apologizing for the delay,” she said. “He was in Italy for two weeks.” As it turned out Aaron was as interested in knowing more about her as she was in finding out about him. They got together for Mass, then dinner and a drink.
The church that first date took place at, you ask? By coincidence it was the aptly named St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Greensboro.
Mary decided early on to tell Aaron what happened in her past—that she had given birth to a baby boy four years earlier. “He…was not in the least bit intimidated,” Mary told CatholicMatch. “He commended me on my decision for choosing life.”
When they got together on Mother’s Day weekend, Aaron gave Mary a card, something that blew her away. “I could not believe he recognized that I was a mom even though I do not parent my son,” she said. It was a definitive moment in her realization that there was something truly special about Aaron.
Aaron further demonstrated to Mary that chivalry was not dead. She described their walk around Charlotte around that first date as being like a scene out of a movie. “I had never been honored and respected so much as a woman of God by a man before. I knew driving home from Charlotte that I was going to marry this man.”
Both Aaron and Mary watched God’s plan in their lives unfold with joy and they realized just how well they complement each other. “He is rational when I’m not, he is patient when I’m impatient and he is my strength when I feel like I’m falling apart,” Mary said.
Their relationship was anything but falling apart—it was growing stronger each day, and it was March 2010 that Mary was driving to Aaron’s place where they would go to dinner with friends of his. It was not an event she looked forward to, having had a tough week, but Aaron was insistent. They met at Belmont Abbey College where we works.
The pretext for meeting at the college was to talk to the monks about borrowing their truck to move furniture. Mary found a 7 PM meeting to be rather odd, and when she got there, Aaron had a story about the monks running late in their evening prayer. He took her to the campus Grotto.
“I started asking him questions about its history,” Mary said regarding the Grotto. “I was staring at the statue of the Blessed Mother and Aaron was standing behind me…he asked me to turn around. When I did he was down on one knee.” Aaron even had the engagement ring that Mary’s mother had been given, from when he obtained her parents’ blessing.
“The overwhelming feeling of God’s plans falling into place caused me to cry with tears of joy,” Mary told CatholicMatch. “It finally hit that this was really happening.” They shared a dinner at the same restaurant they’d gone to on their first date.
Aaron and Mary were wed on New year’s Day 2011, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. They are now close to two years into their marriage and could not be happier. They paid a visit to the CatholicMatch booth in the Eucharistic Congress in Charlotte this September.
“Look for a relationship through the lens that God wants and not what you want,” Mary advises other singles following the road she once walked. “When you do that, true happiness and peace will wash over you.”