On the first Sunday of April 2012 Bill was leaving Sunday Mass, scanning the parish bulletin and seeing the ad for CatholicMatch. The 64-year-old widower immediately thought “Why not?
“It had been 15 months since my wife passed away,” he told CatholicMatch. “It was time for me to start my life over.”
Jeanne was two years younger than Bill, and had also lost her spouse, but in her case it had been 20 years and she had been able to re-establish her life.
“I was content,” she said. Between work, church and her volunteer efforts with animals, the woman with the heart of St. Francis of Assisi, was not actively looking for someone. “I didn’t think he was out there,” she admitted. “My standards were very high and I was not willing to compromise them.”
Bill got home from church that Sunday last April and immediately signed up and began to work on creating his profile. “The photos were especially troublesome,” as he recalled the process of presenting himself to the online community. But he got set up and after a just a few days on the site, found himself thinking how nice it would be to have someone to get a cup of coffee with.
Jeanne’s profile was up, but she was no longer a full member. But she was still enrolled to receive notifications, so she got an e-mail from CatholicMatch indicating that Bill had viewed her profile.
“I decided to take a look and was quickly intrigued,” she said. “Bill loved dogs, he has four King Charles Spaniels.”
She also liked the fact they were both originally from Long Island before relocating to their current homes in North Carolina. “And he answered yes to each of the seven questions of faith,” she said. “This is an absolute must for me.”
Jeanne still hadn’t decided to become a full member, so all she could do was send Bill a “smile” emotigram. He sent a smile and a message back to her. It resulted in a sequence where 13 “smiles” and messages from Bill were exchanged, leaving him hopeful, but a little confused as to why he wasn’t getting more than a smile. Finally, Jeanne became a full member, read his messages and became even more intrigued.
“The more I learned about him the more I wanted to know,” she told CatholicMatch. Bill felt the same way, and five days after their first “smile” exchange, they were talking on the phone.
What ensued was a four-hour conversation. They found out that growing up in New York, they had gone to the same discos, worked a few blocks from each other and had all their children living out of state. They’d both gone to Catholic grade schools. “We could have talked all night, but I had to get up for work in the morning,” Jeanne recalled.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a four-hour conversation before,” Bill told CatholicMatch. “It was so comfortable talking with Jeanne, like talking with an old friend.” A couple days later they set up a meeting at her church, near a grotto of Our Lady. “The Holy Spirit prompted us,” Jeanne said. They would later find out that the bishop was going to be on hand as the Mass celebrant, as though God was “rolling out the big guns” for them, as Jeanne later put it.
Afterward, they went for lunch, and around three in the afternoon, Bill said he should leave. It’s not that he wanted to, but he was concerned about overstaying his welcome. “Jeanne’s look of disappointment told me it was okay to stay, so I did, for another four hours,” he said.
The next month was one of nightly phone conversations, daily emails and Bill making the 60-mile drive each and every weekend. “It didn’t matter what we did,” Jeanne said. “We just enjoyed each other so much. We were discovering all about each other.”
In mid-May, the couple shared their first kiss, and according to Bill lead to real change in the relationship. “(We went) from being very good friends to something so much more.
“Our lives had been changed completely,” Jeanne recalled. “We know…that this was God’s wonderful plan for us…it felt so right and everything had fallen right into place.” Two months later, Bill proposed marriage and Jeanne said yes. They were wed this past November at the same church where their first date began.
“We had both been living very solitary, empty, lonely existences,” Jeanne said. “Together we have fulfilled each other in every way—mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.”
Bill and Jeanne would like everyone to know that hope is out there and it’s real, and that God has a plan for all of us—in his time. “And when you find it, it’s so amazing.”