Monday, October 29, 2012

Veritas: Dennis and Anabelle

{real life love}

A few weeks ago, I told you how St. Therese gifted me with a rose when I started dating my husband.  But this isn't about me, nor are these things limited to roses.  Turns out, the Father does not contain Himself when it comes to answering prayers with flowers.

I met Anabelle through her blog, Written By the Finger of God.  It's chock-full of Catholic romance--real stories of real couples and how they fell in love through Christ!  I'm so honored that she let me share her story here.  Do be sure to visit her site and read more!

As a young woman, Anabelle went on a pilgrimage to Banneux, Belgium, a site where Our Lady once appeared.  She was traveling with her aunt and uncle, who told her the story of their relationship: Anabelle's aunt used to pray one daily Hail Mary for her future husband.  "When she met my uncle and they were supposed to go out, she asked Our Lady to have him wear something blue if he was the one.  He wore blue from head to toe that night."  Inspired, Anabelle prayed to Mary for a blue-eyed man and asked Our Lady to show her, with a bluebell flower, the one the Lord had chosen for her.

Meanwhile, there was another woman praying for flowers: Dennis' mom!  She prayed often to St. Therese for her son to meet his future wife (Dennis had been waiting so long for a loving, holy woman that he'd only half-jokingly decided he'd consider the priesthood soon).

When Anabelle joined a Catholic young adults group after moving to a new city, there was one seat too few at the bar.  She left to use the bathroom one night, and Dennis stole her spot!  And that, ladies, was their first encounter.  "I was miffed when I got back," Anabelle says (of course!), "seeing how he didn’t even offer to grab me a chair or get out of the seat he deliberately stole."

Over the next few weeks, they continued running into each other at their group, but according to Anabelle, "Dennis didn’t take my chairs anymore, he just sat right beside me.  He could make anyone laugh and so I quickly got over my first impression of him. We always went out in groups so it was a very relaxed and casual atmosphere of getting to know each other.  One other thing I noticed other than his ability to make me laugh was that he loved the Catholic Church, far more than I did (and I thought I was a pretty good Catholic)."  They were dancing together at a party one night, laughing the night away under the starts, and she realized, "I had to admit my dislike had gone to like without my consent!"

On their first official date, something big happened.  Dennis dashed into a little shop mid-date and emerged with a sculpted glass flower.  It was a bluebell!  He later admitted to Anabelle that he'd only nabbed her seat in an effort to start a conversation and get her attention.

Right as their relationship was unfolding, though, Anabelle got a job offer in another state.  She and Dennis spent the next month apart, getting to know each other more deeply over the phone, and agreed to meet up again soon at a spot in Southern California, where their relatives lived.

Remember Dennis' mom and St. Therese?  Around this time, she'd unknowingly begun a novena to Therese, and received a big bouquet of roses when she met Anabelle for the first time.  Anabelle's mom was interceding, too--she'd been praying to St. Expeditus, to hasten Anabelle's marriage, and was almost through a novena when her daughter mentioned that she'd met someone.  You can't make these things up!  Between their moms' prayers and the intercession of Our Lady, Annabelle knows "our earthly mothers as well as Heavenly Mother were involved in the matchmaking."

Not long after, Dennis picked Anabelle up from the airport for a visit and drove immediately to a nearby church.  In front of a statue of Our Lady, under the same stars they'd danced under, he proposed.  They set their wedding date for six months later, but due to their job situations, spend most of their engagement apart.  It's ironic, Anabelle says, that "we’d only been physically together for a month of dating and separated four months, only to reunite with a flurry of hectic wedding preparations before our wedding day."  Looking back, she loves how the distance deepened their communication and their longing for one another.

Several years of marriage later, Dennis and Anabelle continue to trust in Our Lady's intercession, even when life gets hard.  They've had two miscarriages, for instance, and look forward to meeting their children in Heaven.  They have three children on earth as well as their two in Heaven, and Anabelle strives to make her family a domestic church, with daily Mass, nightly family rosaries, and frequent confession.  And yet, she says, "I don’t mean that our spiritual lives are regulated by a rigid schedule but that our domestic Church is closely tied to and follows the lead of the Catholic Church.  Christ is very much the head of my husband and he is the head of our family."

I can't get over this story!  Dennis and Anabelle's certainty about their love from such an early time is amazing to behold.  Movies feature whirlwind romances so often, but real life truly is better--when I considered the fact that Mary, the saints, and their very own moms were praying for Dennis and Anabelle, I realized that their relationship was hardly a whirlwind at all--it was written from long before they ever knew.

Want to see your love story featured on Captive the Heart?  Email me at!


  1. I so love her love story, and her website in general! Both of your blogs tie in so nicely together. I love that you two have blogs celebrating Catholic love and marriage :).

    1. I know, I've loved reading all the stories Anabelle has collected! And just so you know, I'm a major fan of your blog, too =)

  2. Stephanie, I love it! Thank you for featuring our story. You should consider writing novels. I'll link this on 7 quick takes. Stacy, thank you for your kind words. God bless you both!

    1. Anabelle! You flatter me! Thank you so much for your nice words and for linking on Quick Takes! I've loved getting to know you!

  3. I think this is the first time I saw those pics of her. You're beautiful, Annabelle! The story of your mothers is so sweet! So glad to find this blog!



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