February 14th is a day when love is celebrated by couples. We want to take this Valentine’s Day to honor “the icon of God’s love for us,” (Pope Francis) sacramental marriages! To display the beauty of a sacramental marriage, we are aiming to post one love story a day from our married brothers and sisters until we reach Valentine’s Day. May their stories draw you closer to the Source of their love. Happy reading!
Although both born within one month each other in Paris, France, we met in New York City 23 years later. Eva was a student and Bertrand was an intern.
Bertrand had been raised in a Catholic family but had stopped going to mass. Eva had been raised in an “atheist” or just secular family but had been to a Catholic school from 5 to 8 years old.This had given her a deep thirst for God. She had been baptized at 18 (thanks to many small miracles, but this is another story) and was sincerely, though clumsily, seeking God. Bertrand was soon very willing to go to a few masses for Eva’s sake.
Our story really began when we spent a whole night talking, seated on the fire escape stairs. How romantic! The fact is that we discussed many topics that night and shared our vision of life. Seen from now, it was probably a bit idealistic but we both ended up with the strong feeling that we shared a lot and had the same inspirations as to what our future should be. So, although we were only 23 and had known each other less than 2 months, it was settled deep inside our minds that our future would be together.
And… that’s it basically! Both of us made decisions that allowed us to live in the same city, Paris again.
We announced to our parents that we were getting married. Fortunately one of our wedding “witnesses” as they are called in France or bride’s maid as it is called here, was in the Emmanuel Community and suggested that we should follow a “course” at the Holy Trinity Parish, given by the Emmanuel Community in Paris.
It was an important time in our life. Not only did we learn a lot, we also felt attracted to the topics surrounding conjugal life and this led us, after 5 years of marriage, to lead marriage preparations classes and later give teachings. Over several years we dedicated one evening a week to this. We learnt to commit and to serve together, and try to give back some of what had been given to us. Over that period of time we tried to get closer to the Lord and become more and more faithful to Him.
We discovered Paray-le-Monial and went there every summer. In 2009, at the birth of our fourth daughter, we entered the Emmanuel Community and it felt like getting home! It still feels like that a few years down the road… We feel deeply blessed.
We met with several couples that lived very difficult periods, separations but also beautiful reconciliations.
We pray that the Lord give hope to all couples who struggle along the road, and help us see the fruit of our difficulties and sacrifices.
Eva & Bertrand (MA)