It was Father's Day of 2013 and Kirstie found herself with some unexpected life decisions to make. She was happily married and the mother of three children. Her husband died suddenly on that day, and the future was suddenly a big question mark.
"I decided on that day how I was going through that journey," Kirstie recalled. Over the course of the next three months she put together a list of traits that any future partner of hers would have to have. The list had nine attributes, and she gave it to God. "Here's my heart," she said to the Lord in prayer. "I'm going to wait and see."
The list and the offering prayer set her at peace for several months, as she and her children worked on starting life anew. Seven months later came an experience that began to rattle her. "I was out watching my brother-in-law's band," she recalled. "And I had a date that was a bad experience." It set Kirstie to thinking about how she was going to go about meeting people--on that list of nine traits she wanted, foremost among them was that he be a spiritual leader.
Kirstie went online looking for answers and she found them on Pinterest, the social media outlet that had a lot of "Mommy blogs." She typed in "Catholic dating" as a search and some of the blogs had recommended CatholicMatch for single moms looking for a marriage built on faith.
It took little persuasion to get Kirstie to come aboard. "I know a lot of success stories," she said. "I wasn't skeptical at all." What's more, she realized that going online was going to be her best bet. "I believe in marriage and my children needed a father," she said. "My church has mostly older people--there aren't young people and there definitely aren't single people. A Catholic dating site seemed best."
40-year-old Kirstie interacted with different men on CatholicMatch, but it was 45-year-old Brendan who caught her eye. And with six children, he certainly understood the importance of family and being a parent first.
Brendan was preparing to leave the site, but before he did, he made sure that Kirstie had his email address. They began to communicate regularly, when Kirstie decided she was ready to give him her phone number. He called her immediately and they were on the phone for three hours. "It was like we always knew each other," she recalled.
Over the next four months, Brendan and Kirstie continued to talk and to message each other. "We both wanted a partner who wanted Christ to be at the center," Kirstie said. On a personal level, they both connected through shared suffering. Brendan had seen his brother pass away and a previous job in the Coast Guard required him to rescue victims in the ocean. "He's seen some terrible things," Kirstie added.
They lived nearly nine hours away, she in Virginia and he in Atlanta, but the distance wasn't stopping them from falling in love. Brendan came to visit in March, and he was flying in to see her. "I was wondering what we should do first," Kirstie said, recalling her efforts to plan the trip. "Brendan suggested that we go to church as the first thing we do." It was one more demonstration that he really was different and special.
And Brendan meant the "first thing we do" quite literally. Even though he was flying in late at night, Kirstie was calling local churches to see if any might be open. None were, but she found an alternative--the hospital near the airport had a chapel. That's where Brendan and Kirstie went in their first moments together.
Brendan came for several more visits, and the big one was in June. "That's when he proposed," Kirstie said. "It was fast. A lot of people are skeptical, but we're not in our twenties anymore, just looking for a relationship. We're forty-something, we've gone through tragedies and we know what we want."
One of the things Kirstie always wanted was a big family, and now she has a better understanding of why God placed that desire on her heart. She and Brendan will have nine children together. "People ask if I'm nuts," she said with a laugh. "No way."
Brendan and Kirstie took their nine kids to Washington D.C. on a combined vacation this summer and things could not have gone better. "I was moved to tears so many times during that trip," she said, recalling how their children all embraced each other. There have been other joint trips, which Brendan has taken to jokingly call "Family & Immigration Events."
Kirstie and her kids are now quite literally in the midst of a move to Atlanta and she and Brendan will soon be married in the Church. "We could not be more proud to say we met on CatholicMatch," she said.
There will undoubtedly be readers who are skeptical of the fast engagement of Brendan and Kirstie, but this is not without precedent in the annals of CatholicMatch.
In the summer of 2006, a similar rapid engagement and cross-country move was chronicled in the story When Harry Met Bev. This couple has now had eight happy years together. Like Brendan and Kirstie, they were at a point in life where they simply knew what they wanted and acted when they found it.