St Thérèse Drops a Rose at Newman

“I’d like it very much if you forgot about becoming a nun and fell madly in love with me, and we got married and had lots of children,” he confessed, getting straight to the point after the 12:15 Mass at Newman, where I’d promised to meet him that memorable day in March 2013. 

Fortunately for him, I had given up on entering religious life after a January retreat at my dream convent, the Dominican Sisters in Nashville, brought the disappointing but unmistakable revelation that that was not where the Lord was calling me. However, though I had been increasingly attracted to my fellow-medievalist friend of some years – even, to my amusement, during the months I had dedicated to discerning religious life – I hadn’t been prepared for a marriage proposal! I was almost afraid to date such a serious suitor, but I very much wanted to get to know him better. I brought my fears and my desires before the Lord, and quickly discerned that dating Robert Getz was a risk worth taking.

I had begun to attend Newman regularly that winter. As a student, I had often been attracted to Newman’s tabernacle: nestled at the end of the side aisle, under a charming, rustic painting of Our Lady holding her Child, two kneelers and a few chairs invited the faithful to linger in the company of Our Lord. How many times had I knelt before that tabernacle and begged the Lord for guidance, and for a vocation! I volunteered as an altar server and came to appreciate Newman’s exceptionally welcoming community. Rob began to join me there for Sunday and weekday Masses.

Much to my surprise, a mere six weeks after his first proposal, I found myself ready to receive a second. On May 8th, Rob and I took a walk around campus and he imagined how he might impress me with an elaborate proposal, if only he had the means! We sat down at the crossroads just outside the Centre’s Cardinal Newman window, unsure of where to exchange our formal words of engagement to each other. In the grass on that bank, to our surprise and delight, Rob espied a ring! A rose-shaped fashion ring someone had dropped, we supposed, and of no value, though Rob recalled that he had prayed a novena to St Thérèse of Lisieux for a wife in December: had she dropped us a rose? Thus furnished with the main symbol of engagement, we entered the chapel and knelt at the tabernacle to pray for blessings upon what we were about to undertake. A few minutes later, by the baptismal font, Rob got down on one knee and asked that he might serve me as Christ served the Church, and I said yes.

We were married four months later in the cathedral of my hometown of Victoria, BC. A year after that, we brought our son to to be baptised at that same font at which we had first promised our lives to each other.

Madeleine Getz studied at the Centre for Medieval Studies and hopes before too long to finish her dissertation on a medieval commentary on the liturgy. She is mother to one son on earth, one son in heaven, and twin daughters on their way! The Getzes like to attend weekday Mass at Newman when they can, although they now live too far away to be regular Sunday parishioners.

 

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