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We met over 8 years ago at church as Shaun was walking in and I was walking out. The few words exchanged sparked an interst that kept Shaun coming back. When we FINALLY began dating 4 years later we soon knew there was something special here. Our first year quickly flew by and we both decided we never wanted to spend another year with anyone else or without each other. We married in the place where it all began on January 1, 2011 (1/1/11) and gave birth to our beautiful daughter Ava Marie on September 22, 2011 our next little one, Clara Rose came 16 months later on February 11, 2013. This blog began with our preparation with our wedding and has entered into recording the days and events of our newlywed life and new motherhood.

The Happy Couple...

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Ava Marie

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Clara Rose

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Gabriel's ticker

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Twins ticker

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So this is how it happened....

Many of you know this story or at least part of it, but for those of you who want the details, this is how it happened (at least as I remember it).

Shaun and I met nearly 5 years ago at St. Anthony's in New Bedford.  Incidentally, this Church has over the years been a place of many episodes of "significance" over my life.  There are too many to get into during this little note but a few include that Saint Anthony's convent was the location of TWO of the religious communities I discerned entering when I was thinking God may have been calling me to become a sister in religious life as well as this being one of the very first churches I sang in public in... also on a New Years retreat many years ago. 

I had just joined the parish a few months before after searching for a parish to join for a long time.  I had begun cantoring (singing) at the parish.  One day after a daily Mass I was walking out and bumped into Shaun just as he was walking in.  We exchanged a few words about how Mass had just ended and I suggested where he might be able to go to find a different one.  I guess he thought I was "nice" and that he might come back. 

After growing up in Worcster and living for some time in the Boston area he had just moved into the area of the church after buying his grandmother's house, gutting it and rebuilding the whole thing.  If I remember correctly he had taken a few days off and was working on his porch (thus his ability to go to daily Mass, whereas he usually leaves the area VERY early in the morning to head off to work in Boston). 

At this time I had just started dating someone else who I had also met only two weeks shy of meeting Shaun and who also had just joined the parish.  Shaun did come back to St. Anthony's, heard me sing and began to become interested.  He waited one day for me outside of church and I came walking out with the "other man".  Shaun slowly walked back to his truck, got in and thought to himself, "I didn't even know she was seeing him.  Hmmm... Well... I'll just wait this one out".  Meanwhile, the man I was seeing turned to me and asked, "Do you think he was waiting for you?"  Even though I tend to have a very bad memory and Shaun and I never spoke that day, this memory over the years stayed vividly in the back of my mind, though I didn't know why.

Three and half years passed by and I stubbornly held to the determined idea that I was going to "make this work" with the other man I was with.  I would pray for God to reveal his will and would distinctly feel like I was being asked to "let him go".  Eventually I did and we amicably parted ways remaining close friends with a deep respect for each other.

Shaun meanwhile thought we were still together and the months passed by... 6 of them in fact.  After dropping what I thought were MANY subtle hints (including introducing him to my mother) I eventually thought he was simply a "nice guy" but no longer interested.  Little did I know that he had been praying to St. Joseph and funny enought it took my ex-boyfriend himself telling Shaun that we were no longer together for him to realize his opportunity had come. 

He walked me out of Adoration one August day and we talked as we sometimes did, the conversation turning to my upcoming move (which I had no idea was only 3 streets away from his home) and his openness to help me with the renovations/move.  I thought he was just being nice and turned the conversation to him asking what brought him to New Bedford.  He told me the story of his grandmother and her house and after a few moments, unexpectedly invited me to come see it.  I responded with uncomfortable silence....  He asked again.... silence again (I was busy processing ...after all, I'd thought he was uninterested and had recently come out of a long relationship) ... then right before he was about to say, "Ooook... perhaps some other time then", I gave a hesitant sigh and said, "Ok!?"

I drove up to a lovely little home that seemed to "stick out" in the area and just happened to be painted "my favorite color".  I sat down to a "Shaun-boy" (Madeira wine on ice with Lemon) and one conversation went into another.  Soon we ended up at dinner and five hours of chatting later, I drove home wondering what happened after my usual trip to Adoration.

I found myself giddy and suffering from butterflies in my stomach the next day and chalked it up to something I must have eaten.  Even though I went into our relationship hesitantly with heels dragging Shaun very quickly won me over with his honesty, simplicity, humility, integrity, humor, encouragement and million other hidden character strengths.  We complimented each other so well and the time went by unbelievably quickly.  We often remarked to eack other about how fast the days flew by.  We'd look at the clock and always wonder how it got SO late, SO fast???  Before we knew it, August came around again.  (Oh, by the way ...we found out later we had begun our relationship unknowingly on his Grandmother's birthday... the one who's house is where it all began)
So... the last day of our "first year together", Shaun proposed quietly (as is his style) at Adoration before Our Lord at 4am.  "Will you Marry Me?"  he almost whispered.  I wanted him on bended knee... and he was on both!!!  I of course said "Yes!", and then thinking for a second that I might have just imagined him saying what I had wanted him to for so long (I DO have an overactive imagination) said... "uh, can you say that AGAIN?" He went on to explain that "He didn't have the ring, hadn't had time to get it, etc..." and as I'd known he's been working almost non-stop, I was not surprised and just said, "That's ok!" The rest of the time was spent in prayer, thanking God.

As we usually do on Sunday mornings, we then went out for breakfast (eggs benedict) and went fishing.  I won't touch the fish, so after snagging and snapping my line right off the bat, I asked him to re-do the whole thing while I watched his pole.  After a while he told me that I was all set so I went over to grab my pole and thought, "Hey, where's my shiner?" then I looked more closely and saw a different kind of shiner hanging off the end.  I turned to him and saw him smiling.  "I had it in my pocket the whole time" he said.  "Of course only you could do this without even using your words" I replied.  I slipped the ring on my finger in giddy contentment.

Later that morning we approached Father Landry after Mass and got his approval.  We will be married on January 1st, 2011 (yup... right around the corner, so I’ll need HELP!).  It's the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God and right in the Octave of Christmas.  ...Oh, and we found out it's also the day his Grandmother got married... and the day MY Grandmother passed away (which was very significant for me).  Of course they both have the same name, "Mary".

I'll need your prayers as these next few months whip by.  Thank you for all those you've offered me along the years.  I am so content and feel so blessed.  (sigh) many times I prayed and prayed for God's will as I sang Mass after Mass for three and a half years with Shaun sitting right in front of me and watching me with quiet admiration.  (Hmm...) It just goes to show you, sometimes what you’re looking for is right there in front of you the whole time!


  1. What a beautiful story! - Catherine Fraga

  2. You make my cry, Marijanna...How beautiful!!!

  3. Marijanna: What a BEAUTIFUL story! I am so happy for you and Shaun! The faithfulness of GOD is so evident here! I had no idea all of this was happening until I saw something on Angela Barack's facebook. She is my daughter Emily's childhood friend.

    If I new about this wedding I would have been there for sure! You are in my prayers as you begin your new life together! What a beautiful day to be married!

    God Bless You Both,
    Liesse Lynch

  4. Marijanna & Shaun,

    Congratulations on your marriage! Ed and I really enjoyed getting to know you the other day and spending time with you. Loved reading your beautiful story. Glad I found your blog.

    Thank you so much for your wonderful hospitality the other night! Hope to see you and Shaun again soon!

    May God Bless you both!

    P.S. My email is:

    Remembering you, Shaun, and the Baby in our daily prayers!

    Maria Newcomer


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