“Being a member for a few months, I never discovered the forums, then one night I found the forums. What a blast. Chatting, meeting Catholics from all over the world. The different forums, emotes, even the prayer room. I loved it all!!” So said Dave, as he entered the community arena at Catholic Match, where you can meet large numbers of people online all at once. Patti was a regular participant in the forums, where she had varied interests, from showing support with other women in the St. Ann’s Room, to friendly banter in St. Peter’s Square to sharing her love for the Cubs, Packers and Texas Longhorns in the St. Christopher’s sports forum. It was in the Catholic Match forums that a man from Ohio and a woman from Texas were able to meet.
“I noticed a forum poster, where did this cutie come from, she was so full of zest and life, so we started chatting and leaving emotes, then it was good night hugs, and then good morning E-mails and emotes.”, Dave said. But the distance was a problem. Both were seeking someone locally, but neither were willing to put God in a box. “I was organizing CM Jazzfest” at the time, Patti recalled, speaking of a CM Destination Weekend that she was the lynchpin behind in Corpus Christi. So Dave came down for that.” But in the meantime there were six months in between their initial encounter and the event. So they kept the chatting, e-mails and forum communication going and let their friendship grow.
The event was everything they’d hoped for, both for themselves and for the rest of the people that attended. “I went a day early so I could take Patti out for an evening dinner date, Dave said. Holy Toledo!! I was in awe.” They had a terrific time, both at dinner, and then through four days and nights with other CM friends. The last night was hard on both of them. “Why did we have to be so many miles apart?, Dave lamented. I was a wreck, with my last hug and kiss goodnight, we had to say goodbye. I promised Patti I would be back. She looked so sad, we both cried. Goodbye to the love of my life.” But it wasn’t goodbye. It was hello.
Determined not to let the best person they’d ever met get away, Dave and Patti worked to move their relationship to the next level, traveling back and forth to spend time with each other. “It was about every 6 to 8 weeks, Patti said in reference to the frequency they saw each other. “The longest was 15 to 16 weeks. Dave did most of the traveling. He and his brother have their own business, so he had more flexibility.”
They continued the forums, e-mails and cellphone. And they prayed to be shown the way. Those prayers led to a powerful story. In Dave’s words…
“I live near Sorrowful Mother Shrine here in Ohio. When I first joined CM, I left a prayer note at this shrine, praying to find me a Catholic woman to be my wife. It was about a year later, and a few months after Patti’s CM Texas. Patti told me of a dream she had the night before, she tells me of Mary’s in the woods and on trees, and walking paths in a woods, she also had a vision of a grotto of the tomb of Jesus. She wondered what this dream was all about. Then it hit me, it has to be the Shrine I left my note at, it has everything she dreamed about. I then told her about my prayer note, and guess where I left the prayer note, at the grotto of the tomb of Jesus. On Patti’s first visit to Ohio, we visited this wonderful shrine, and she visited the place that her dream was about. Now for Patti. She told me she was praying for a sign for us to be together and for a possible move to Ohio to be with me. It was for Patti and me to see an Eagle. The very next trip, we seen that eagle, let’s say 4 different ones on that weekend stay. So we both had our prayers and they were telling us what we needed to do next."
There was still the annulment process to get through. Patti’s had to be finalized before they could marry. Troubled by whether she should date at this point, a subject that often rages out of control in the message forums, she consulted a priest, who assured her that this was part of finding God’s plan and his next step. But the annulment process ground slowly for her. “I was his guinea pig, Patti recalled of the new person in charge of annulments at the archdiocese. The two years it took to complete the annulment convinced Patti that the process should be sped up, but she added that there was no denying the rejuvenation and renewal it engendered.
Now the ball was in Dave’s court gain. It was on a ranch in South Texas that he knelt down and proposed. “Then as we hugged and looked to the heavens, we both witnessed two falling stars flash in the sky above us, he remembered. “Could this be another sign? I like to believe so.”
All the work paid off when they were united in marriage at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Corpus Christi, on April 4, 2009. “You can’t hurry things along”, Patti said. It’s what the three P’s the Pinkies (the women of the St. Ann’s Room) talk about—Prayer, Persistence & Patience.” When asked if she had any advice for other CM member, the biggest thing Patti stressed was being willing to step outside their own preconceived ideas and parameters, especially in regards to a long-distance relationship.
Patti & Dave now reside in Ohio. They visit the Marian shrines. They see eagles on weekly basis. She hopes the Cubs can finally win the World Series. But most important was that she and Dave—quite literally—saw all their dreams come true.