The Only Success That Matters


A year ago, on August 4th, 2006 John proposed marriage and I
accepted.  Six months later, he died in my arms of acute cardiac
arrest.  We never told our story of how we met through
Catholic Match and very soon fell in love.  It is a good story and
though some may feel that our tale is tragic, I will always consider it
a Catholic Match success story.

John and I had known each other
passively from postings on the fora. We were both active in the
Apologetics and liturgical debates in the Canon Room.  We both
considered ourselves "traditionalist" Catholics and shared a devotion
to the Tridentine Mass and appreciation for the Church's rich and
glorious history. 

My first three years as a member of
this community, I was serving in the US Navy as an instructor at the
Nuclear Power School in Charleston, SC.  When I left the service
in the fall of 2005, I accepted a job in the Chicago area largely
because there were many places where the Tridentine Mass was offered
daily.  One of the most notable of these churches is St. John
Cantius and it was there that I attended Mass on Sundays and Holy

Shortly after I moved, I received a
short email from John saying only, "How is St. John
Cantius?"  It is a rather inoccuous question, but it turned out to
be the spark that ignited the flame in us.  We emailed back and
forth for a little bit, then moved to instant messaging.  Our
conversations lasted for hours, and eventually instant messanger began
to be cumbersome and limiting. We then started talking using a
voice chat program called Skype. 

For three months, we
talked to each other at least a couple of hours every night.  We
had never met face to face, but we found we could implicitly trust each
other, share feelings and thoughts that we had never revealed to
anybody else. We prayed the rosary together, ending it by
reciting Psalm 42, a favorite of both of ours.  It was prayer and
our devotion to the faith that brought us together, and it was the same
that led us to fall in love. We fell in love with each other
months before we had ever met face to face.

By the spring of
2006, we both decided that it was time to meet. I had recently
bought a home and I invited John to the housewarming party in
June. We had an idea of what each other looked like based on our
profile photos, but people always look different in person than they do
in photographs.  When I met him at the airport, we had arranged a
way for us to recognize each other. He would be holding his
favorite black rosary and I would be holding my favorite green

At last we saw one another for the first
time. He was a bit nervous, but I knew I was finally getting to
meet the man who had become my best friend. After meeting at the
airport we proceeded on our first date.  St. John Cantius is what
started communication between the two of us, so it seemed fitting that
the first thing we did together was go to the church.  We
knelt at the altar rail in front of Mary's altar and recited the
rosary together.  Faith came first in each of our
lives, and finally being able to share it with somebody
special was extraordinary.

John and I had already decided that
we wanted to officially begin courtship.  John, if he
already wasn't nervous enough metting me, now had to ask
permission of my father.  It didn't matter to my father either
way, but it was important to the both of us that we had is permission
and blessing.  So on June 23rd, 2006 we officially began
courting.  The only problem was that I lived in Chicago
and he lived in Ohio.  It would have to be a long distance

We still continued to talk every night and
pray the rosary together. We added an extra prayer at the end
asking the Blessed Virgin to intercede for us and help us
determine if God's will for us was marriage. I was fortunate
enough to have flexibility in my work schedule so that I had every
other Friday off. Two weeks later, I flew to Columbus to spend
time with him.  That particular weekend also happened to be
around our birthdays, his being three days after mine in July. We
celebrated by going to the famous Park of Roses in Columbus. Walking amongst the vast array of beautiful roses, we stopped for a
moment, looked into each other's eyes and finally said the words
we had wanted to say for some time — "I love you."

We had
a short courtship, about six weeks. We never thought we'd
ever get struck by the thunderbolt, but there it was and on August
4th, the eve of the Feast of Our Lady of Snows, we were engaged. My dad was certainly surprised when John asked his permission for
marriage so soon, but he gave us his blessing nonetheless.

The next several months were spent trying to see as much of each other
as possible and planning a wedding in Kansas City (my hometown) despite
the fact neither of us lived there. We had hoped to set a
wedding date and be married before Lent, but beauracracy and canon law
put some delay on that plan. We eventually set the date of
April 21st, 2007. All the marriage prep was done, the required
paperwork was complete, I had picked out my dress, all that was left
was the wait, the wait that seemed to last for eternity.  In the
meantime we spent the holidays together. Christmas was
spent with just the two of us. He cooked an amazing
dinner, started a fire, and we enjoyed roasted
marshmallows for dessert.

The last week in January, he
came to visit for a whole week. It was the longest we had ever
spent time with each other. It was great to come home from work
and have the man I loved waiting for me with a homecooked meal. 
John was an amazing cook. His parents flew into Chicago the last
weekend in January for the express purpose of meeting me. It was
nice to finally meet the people who raised John to be the incredible
man he was. 

We all had breakfast Sunday morning before
his parents left for the airport. We said our goodbyes and then
went back to my house for a little while before heading off to
Mass. At around 11am, as we were in the midst of a conversation
about our impending wedding day, John suddenly lost consciousness and
began having difficulty breathing. I called 911, but in the four
minutes it took for the paramedics to arrive, I held him in my arms and
watched in terror as he took his final breaths on earth. 

One of John's proudest moments was managing to get his grandmother Last
Rites an hour before she died. Though I was in shock, I had the
presence of mind to call a priest to give him his final blessing before
his soul entered eternity. Five days later he was transported
back to Ohio where his family and friends gathered for a Solemn High
Tridentine Requiem Mass and burial. 

On April 21st, I
came to Ohio on the day that we were to be married, where again his
family and friends gathered for a Mass for the repose of his soul and a
celebration of his life. Later that day, I visited his
grave. He was laid to rest in a Catholic cemetary right
beside his grandmother, the same grandmother for which he arranged Last
Rites. On one of my earlier visits, we went to that cemetary
where he introduced me to her, saying how lucky and how proud he was to
have me as a fiancee. It was one of those moments I will
always treasure and I cannot think of a far better resting place
for him than beside her.

So, how is this a success
story? By the grace of God and this website, two people
came to know and love one another deeply and intimately. John was able to bring out the best in me.  I am a better person
and a better Catholic for having known him. For a Catholic, love
is an act of the will, not a passion. It is to want the absolute
best for the other person, regardless of other circumstances. In
the past six months, I have come to a better understanding of what that
really means. Though his life was short, he died the happiest
he had ever been in his life.  But even that cannot compare
to the happiness one attains with God in Heaven. We all have
to endure an earthly death to obtain eternal life and though
I do not know the exact state of his immortal soul, I pray everyday
that God in His infinite mercy admit his soul into the
heavenly kingdom where he will enjoy eternal happiness with God,
Mary, and the Communion of Saints. And, I also pray that
if he is in Heaven, that he intercede for me, and ask God to
give me the strength and courage to make it through each day
trying to discern God's will. I love John and he loves
me. In his eternal life he continues to want the very
best for me, even though it means my having to live on without him, and
I cannot think of a better intercessor on my behalf than him.

Some of our finest qualities we glean from others. John
was able to bring out qualities in me I never knew I
had. He will always be a part of me, and anybody else I meet
will be able to come to know him by coming to know me.  

I would definitely call that a success story.  


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  1. Beata-318316 May 1, 2008 Reply

    What a moving story, Amanda. Thank you for sharing it. I will always remember this story. John and you will live in my heart, from now on… I pray for you. God Bless you-

  2. Veronica-146135 April 22, 2008 Reply

    That is truly beautiful, Amanda. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

  3. Frances-52297 February 17, 2008 Reply

    Thank you for sharing your and John's beautiful love story with us. God Bless you, may John rest in His peace. Yes, now you have an angel watching over you.

  4. Joanie-50407 January 10, 2008 Reply

    What an amazing story, Amanda, thank you for sharing I am sure it was not easy…God Bless you even though you can not imagine it at this time…I am sure GOD has another plan for you possibly with another..many find love a second time I wish you a happy life

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