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For Your Marriage

Several years after Troy and Kathleen were paired up for a dance performance, they fell in love and got married. They live in a rural western suburb of Chicago with their 5 children, ages baby to college bound, and have 3 little souls in Heaven.

Mary, the Matchmaker

With May right around the corner, the month we honor Mary in a distinct way, I have recently been reflecting on how instrumental our Blessed Mother has been in my life, especially in bringing my husband and me together.

My love for Mary began at the ripe age of 14, when my mom and I joined a tour group and went on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje, a Marian shrine in Europe. The trip transformed my life. It set me on a path that I continue to journey on to this day. I fell profoundly in love with God and developed a deep devotion to our Blessed Mother. Praying the rosary was woven into the fabric of my life.  Now, 30 years later, this powerful prayer remains a staple in my prayer life and a means by which Our Lady incessantly draws me into the heart of Her Son.

As a young girl, I was made aware of the gift we have in our Blessed Mother. When I was 19 years old, this gift took on greater meaning in my life through the profound words a very holy priest and keynote speaker, Fr. Agnes, spoke to me while attending a Marian Conference. After his talk, he saw me across a large room, crowded with hundreds of people. Having no idea who I was, but clearly prompted by the Holy Spirit, he came up to me and asked my name. I told him. He proceeded to close his eyes and make the sign of the cross on my forehead while he said, “Kathleen, always be a living image of your loving mother Mary.” Then, he just walked away.  I was speechless and moved to tears. The words were etched in my heart from that day forward.

That same year while enrolled at St. Mary’s College in South Bend, Indiana, I met my future husband at the University of Notre Dame (which is French for “Our Lady”). We met dancing but came to know each other through a rosary prayer group. We have always considered Mary our matchmaker.

During my freshman year, my girlfriend and I, together with one of Troy’s roommates, mutually resurrected a club from the early 1900s called Children of Mary. We organized prayer groups in several of the dorms at both schools, and students gathered nightly at 11:00 p.m. to pray the rosary. Troy and I were part of that same rosary group.  We were even blessed by a visit from the now Venerable Fr. Patrick Peyton (founder of the Family Rosary Crusade) who at age 90, prayed the rosary with us on his knees – a memory engraved in my heart forever.

A deep, shared love for Our Lady and countless nightly rosaries prayed together, brought my husband’s heart and mine together. Mary also brought Troy into the fold of the faith. As a former Episcopalian, Troy felt called to become Catholic while he was at Notre Dame and he asked me to be his sponsor. Little did I realize at the time that not only was God calling me to be his sponsor, but in years to come I would be called to be his wife. In Rome and through a lay movement called Opus Dei, Troy was brought into the Church in the spring of his junior year. Thirteen years later (the gap – a beautiful story in and of itself), Troy and I were joined together in Holy Matrimony.

Devotion to the Blessed Mother has been a central part of our marriage and family since the beginning. Mary’s fiat, her YES to God’s will, gave us Jesus. She is the ultimate role model for our marriage. Our daily YES to God’s will, allows us to bring Christ to one another. As a wife and mother, there is no better example of how God desires for me to live out my vocation. Daily, I implore Our Blessed Mother to wrap me in her mantle of love and to help me to be a “living image” of Her.

Mary was our matchmaker and devotion to her is also the cement that keeps our marriage and family together: she continuously leads us to Her Son, the foundation of our vocation.