It was a year after Benny had lost his wife to cancer that the 60-year-old man saw a CatholicMatch ad on the back of his parish bulletin. He decided to try it out, but was very cautious the first six months as a member.
“I suppose I wasn’t really ready to meet anyone yet,” he said in retrospect. While Benny found joy in his two children and his grandchildren, he didn’t understand God’s purpose in taking his first wife from him and would later come to realize that no comfort would come from trying to figure it out.
He decided to move forward seeking God’s plan for the future, whether that be as a single man or if marriage would be part of the program.
One Sunday, after returning home from Mass, he logged on to CatholicMatch and read JoAnn’s profile. “Her story grabbed me and I felt something different,” he said of the 55-year-old woman who had also seen her first spouse pass away. Benny acted just in time: “she told me that her subscription was about to expire when I sent my first emoticon,” he said.
JoAnn had also raised two children, and had interests in music, football and exploring the area near her home in San Antonio. One thing she didn’t have an interest in though, was a long-distance relationship. Benny was a two-hour drive away.
While the member story archives here at CatholicMatch are lined with couples who’ve been separated by much more, two hours still rules out simple dates like a quick get-together for lunch or a spontaneous night out.
Thus, even though Benny and JoAnn enjoyed a lunch together when he drove through San Antonio, and some fun phone conversations and message exchanges, he had to give JoAnn her space and allow the desire for a long-distance relationship to develop. “I suggested we let God decide,” he told CatholicMatch. “And he put us in each other’s path and guided us through our journey of love.”
Divine Providence guided them all the way to Jared’s this past March. They had discussed engagement seriously enough to go ring-shopping, but nothing was final. It was as JoAnn looked at her options, that Benny decided to make it official. He proposed and she accepted.
“She chose a blue sapphire instead of a diamond,” Benny said of his new fiancé’s stone selection. “The sapphire is known as the ‘stone of destiny.’ It’s a symbol of heaven and of joyful devotion to God. It’s meaning includes truth, faithfulness and sincerity.”
Benny and JoAnn are set to be married this coming October. They’ve each been through intense hardships, but through faith and a commitment to living the life they have, both have found a fresh start in each other. Truly, they are each other’s destiny.