Updated: Aug 26, 2020
The most remarkable thing about Catherine and Carmen’s story is not that they met through YouTube while Carmen was living in Boston, or that their meeting coincided with the beginning of their respective reversions to Catholicism. No, the most amazing thing about these two is that they grew up five minutes apart.
“We had so many common stomping grounds,” Catherine relates. “But it just so happened that we never met.”
It wasn’t until they were in their mid-twenties – and 550 miles apart – that their paths finally crossed. Catherine sent Carmen a message after watching one of his YouTube videos, and the two began a steady conversation that left her in, “wonder and awe” as they began to discover their shared history.
At that point, Catherine had just began her journey back to Catholicism. She was curious about the faith and was attending a local prayer group, but she hadn’t yet given herself over to Christ. Initially, she didn’t see that Carmen would become a part of her faith journey, but she recalls that speaking with him was, “strikingly different” from her conversations with other men.
“Within my spirit, I recognized him to be different,” Catherine confides. “It was a capacity I didn’t see in other people.”
Despite this marked difference, however, she was still wary. She knew first-hand how much damage a negative relationship could inflict, and now that she was standing on the edge of a radical transformation, she didn’t want anything to lead her away from her newfound faith. One day, as she was praying in church, Catherine felt God give her a little nudge, encouraging her to trust in Him, but also to take action by finally making those changes necessary for her to turn away from sin and follow Him without reserve.
Unbeknownst to Catherine, Carmen was experiencing a similar struggle. He returned home soon after, but expressed hesitations of his own about their friendship. Amidst this uncertainty, the two began to share more deeply, united by their common love of Christ. At this point, Catherine began to wonder about the purpose of their relationship.
“Maybe God sent me this partner to walk the path of conversion with.”
And walk they did, through a turbulent storm of trial and confusion that lasted for three years. Catherine admits now that it would have been easier to have gone their separate ways, sorting things out individually before coming together to pursue a relationship, but,
“There was grace despite us. To have experienced all of that with him was such a wisdom and a grace. It taught me about sacrificial love and prepared us for marriage.”
Catherine says that there was, “No lightning bolt moment,” telling her that Carmen was the man that she would marry, “But there was a peace that came a
month before his proposal.”
Though she insists that she hadn’t hinted at where she would like a proposal to take place, Carmen managed to select a very meaningful location – the spot at which Catherine had finally obtained that peace after offering God her will in exchange for His.
“I look at the way we are and the way that our journeys have been, and the wisdom of even past hurts… they’ve all served to help me navigate life with him and life as parents,” Catherine reflects. “It makes you realize that God was at work.”
Her closing statement sums it up perfectly: “God prepared us to be with one another.”
It’s as simple as that.
Want more? You can read about Catherine's journey to purity here