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!
In 2011 Chris and Hannah were in their first year of law school. Both were focused their studies but also on staying near the Lord. Chris often served the small noon Mass for students and Hannah was always present. They met after a Mass celebrating the feast of Saint Thomas More, the patron saint of lawyers. A mutual friend made the introduction and they joined her for burgers at the Blue Door restaurant. During lunch, Hannah was struck by Chris’ goodness and also impressed as he shared a bit about his recent service in the Marines. Chris was surprised by Hannah’s openness to life.
The next week was Fall break and both Hannah and Chris were staying in the Twin Cities. There would be no Masses held in the law school’s chapel, so Chris asked Hannah if she would like to accompany him to the noon Mass in down town Saint Paul. She agreed and after a beautiful Mass they ducked into Mickey’s Dining Car for lunch. Chris was very pleased that Hannah chose a messy egg sandwich and decided he was interested in taking her out again. Hannah, however, was not open to dating at that time and thought of Chris as just an esteemed friend.
That weekend Hannah attended a retreat hosted by Communion and Liberation. The theme was “Hope in the Lord.” A speaker talked very simply about staying with the desire for the Lord to act in new ways. Hannah realized that she did want the Lord to act and wanted to be open to Him acting through Chris, despite the intensity of being in law school. Three days later she said yes to a triple date including dinner, a hockey game and a drink at Frost. The two students were in love.
Unfortunately, they did not have much time for more dates but their discernment was clear and on the feast of the Annunciation, right before finals, Chris knelt down at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe and engagement began. After finals, Chris left for a month of training in Morocco and Hannah planned their wedding. Then they both studied for the rest of the summer in Rome and attended a makeshift household, finishing the summer with the Community at World Youth Day in Spain.
Following the pilgrimage to World Youth Day, Chris and Hannah had “pilgrim partners” inscribed into their wedding bands. Law school began again and Chris and Hannah’s marriage pilgrimage also began. On October 1, 2011, the feast of Saint Therese, they were married at the Cathedral of Saint Paul. Little preeme Frances was born the next July 5th and the school year was spent passing her back and forth in the hallways and sleeping little. After the new parents graduated and passed the bar, they settled down on a river bend hobby farm in Cambridge, MN. Chris started out with a litigation firm in Cambridge working long hours.
The firm disbanded and in 2014, and the Motzes set up their own law firm, Motz & Motz. Soon after, a premature Magdalene was born. Chris bore the brunt of work outside the home and Hannah the work inside the home. 2016-17 was a year of discernment and struggle. The couple was working towards the goods of rural life, but recognized they were not at peace. Community and family were an hour drive, adoration seldom, and their efforts at building the Community in Cambridge were resulting in little fruit. Additionally, their sheep literally kept dying and they miscarried their third baby, Bezalel. Chris felt misplaced at work and Hannah on a farm. Little by little, God was calling them to deeper trust and teaching them that, as good as the mission was that they were pursuing, this was not His mission for them.
After a very clear and blessed discernment, in October of 2017, the Motzes sold the farm, keeping only their chickens and huge lab, and moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Chris’ home town. Chris took a job as the Executive Director of their new Catholic Conference. The job’s mission is essentially to build Catholic Culture in the public square and Hannah continues the same mission in the home through homeschooling. It is unifying and despite the challenges of transition peace reigns.
Throughout the Motzes marriage Chris has served in the military which includes some stints of separation. Now, during the ten weeks of the legislative session, Chris spends the weeks in Pierre, the capital of South Dakota, three hours way from Sioux Falls. Absences have always been periods for growth; they seem to be the couple’s boot camp periods where their hearts grow bigger with fasting and praying for one another and their mission takes on greater clarity. Our Lady, pray for Chris and Hannah’s pilgrimage marriage!
Hannah & Chris (SD)