Genesis 12:1, said, “Go away for your own reasons, from your country and from your kinfolk.” That struck me. It sat with me for years as he had made them into bookmarks. I had carried this bookmark around for years and I didn’t know what it meant.
edited by Ellen Gable Hrkach and Kathy Cassanto
Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval2011
EXCERPT and REVIEWS
COME MY BELOVED: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship is a celebration of faith and enduring love. This compilation contains 12 courtship/dating stories which will inspire, captivate and entertain readers. Included are the following stories: A widow with eight children meets a widower with six children; a woman prays to God for a husband and years later, finds herself falling in love with a seminarian; a man asks his live-in girlfriend “What if we stopped having sex?” and is greeted with tears of joy; an atheist falls in love with her Catholic Prince Charming; a couple meet through a Christian introduction service; a sailor prays a novena to marry the right girl. What these and all the stories illustrate is that God is the ideal matchmaker.
REVIEWS“Come My Beloved: is a Song of Songs, a book of praise, a treasure-house of faith and romance par excellence! I dare you to try and put it down once you open its grace-filled enchanting pages. For me, reading this book was a lot like falling in love. The presence of God in the lives of the contributors came through so powerfully to me that as I read these stories I found myself stopping from time to time to pray and give glory to God. This truly beautiful collection of Catholic courtship stories is a must-read for anyone discerning a vocation, especially the call to marriage; and for those courting, engaged, already married or widowed. What a great gift to Holy Mother Church, and a powerful witness that God does make marriages in heaven. Lisa Mladinich Author, Be An Amazing Catechist: Inspire the Faith of ChildrenFounder www.amazingcatechists.com“In Come My Beloved, the couples featured offer us diverse,inspirational and encouraging insights into many different paths toward and expressions of marriage. Reading their testimonials feels like sitting down with trusted friends who share from their heart...whether you’re courting, engaged, newlyweds or celebrating your jubilee years together, this terrific resource offers something for anyone looking to grow closer to God and to one another...”Lisa M. HendeyAuthor, The Handbook for Catholic MomsFounder and Editor, www.CatholicMom.com“Fabulous book that I can’t wait to recomend to all my single and married friends. You truly created a gift for this generation!”Dawn Marie RoederAuthor, It Doesn’t End Here“Thank you so much for this wonderful gift! I love the balance of the stories between young and old. It reminds me that there is no right way or right time to fall in love. This book is so important because it shows that couples still have the power to fight for purity, pursue holiness together and be united in God’s love.”Amanda Marleau, Marital and Family Therapist“This book should be introduced to high school students.They need to know that through prayer and faith in God that their life-long partner is out there.”Teresa Lacroix, wife and mother“Come My Beloved is a collection of heart-warming stories of true love and what can happen when individuals put God first in their lives and seek His will. The stories reveal how the call to the vocation of sacramental marriage is a unique gift from God. I read it in two sittings, savouring each story and the nuggets of faith and truth contained in each of them. Told by real people with real struggles and real joys, the unique “voice” of each couple comes through in conversational style. The reader feels as though he or she is sitting around the kitchen tale with each couple, listening to their “coming together”stories over a cup of tea. Highly recommended for single people discerning their vocation in life, for married couples who wish to rekindle their own “love story,” and for the wider Church community seeking to support and affirm the dignity and vocation of marriage.” Suzanne AtkinsonMarried to Paul for 25 years, Mother of five children ages 9-24“I enjoyed this book very much. This is a much needed book. Many would benefit from reading these stories. Good job! Truly inspired task!Gloria Winn, Wife and mother“Come My Beloved showcases couples who have given God permission to write their love stories. For the investments of their patience, prayer and discernment, they have been blessed with individually crafted romances that would rival any storyline that fiction has to offer. The unfolding of the profiled relationships blends together a broad scope of humanity, varied circumstances, and the power of heavenly grace. It is my hope that these testimonies inspire individuals, as well as whole generations, to trust Our Lord with their hearts and with their futures.”Elaine Vaughn, wife to Greg"Excellent read that reminds you that the roots of true love bounded by God are always alive and well, as long as we keep him in first place in our lives!"Jerry Weber, host of 'The Catholic Revolver with Jerry'“I just finished reading an advanced copy of a book that is due to be released June 15th. Come My Beloved is a collection of 12 romances...how couples met and married. What great stories! Everything from "tried and true" marriages of those much older than Anne or I (of course!)...to the blissfully happy newlywed stories. There were a few times I laughed out loud...and a couple of times the allergies bothered my eyes. This book is so refreshing in today's world...to see that romance can...and DOES live on."Gerard Webster, author, "In Sight""The couples in Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship, touch on a grace that our modern society seems to have lost. That is, the need to include God in our courtship decisions, and marriages. Each story is told from a different circumstance and point of view, yet the miracle of letting the Lord lead one into a marriage of faith, hope, and openness to life inspire singles to be lead by the whispers of the Lord."Karen Kelly Boyce, author and inspirational speaker “Catholic teaching is evident within each story, without being preachy. The hauntingly honest tales of prayer, longing and courtship demonstrate God’s hand in the lives of the couples portrayed. Come My Beloved would make an excellent gift for any young man or woman who is discerning God’s vocation for their lives. I think teenage girls may find hope and guidance in searching for a ‘real’ love through the stories in this book. Engaged or married couples may also benefit from this beautiful book, as it can provide information, inspiration and perhaps a trip down memory lane as they recall their own courtship stories.”Mary Lou Rosien, author Catholic Family Boot Camp"Come My Beloved is a fun read. Because these are all essentially happy stories, there is this pleasant eagerness that gradually builds to read the next story after finishing each one, and you become excited to see how God worked in each couple’s journey. This book shines a light on the real hope that God is truly at work in our lives through the circumstances we find ourselves in and the people we meet. Looking back on our lives, this is easy to see, so seeing this vicariously through these couples’ stories will bring reassurance and confidence to those whose paths are not yet clear. I also really appreciated that while these are all great love stories, most of them are also completely ordinary. And yet God was there working. How easily we forget how much we are loved!" Ann Gundlach
EXCERPTA Fairy Tale RomanceFebruary 18, 2011 by Ellen Gable HrkachThe following is an excerpt of “Our Fairy Tale Romance” from “Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship” and tells part of the story of the courtship of Regina Doman and Andrew Schmiedicke.Andrew: At 25 years of age I was already a lonely bachelor. After a number of failed relationships in high school, college, and after college; after a number of journeys, adventures, and failed business and employment ventures; I found myself back in Michigan, looking for a job, and feeling…well…like a failure. And a bachelor.Regina: The Steubenville Youth Conference had been a source of conversion for me when I was a teen, and even as a youth group leader, it was a lot of fun. But by Sunday, I was hot and exhausted, not to mention a little rumpled from sleeping on the ground and having lost my luggage. During one of the sessions, I saw Mike (future brother-in-law) come into the tent followed by a guy wearing a white dress shirt and jeans of the palest faded blue. His longish dark hair was hanging over his eyes. I rolled my own eyes. Clearly, the guy didn’t know how to dress. I was introduced to Andrew Schmiedicke and we shook hands, but given how loud the music was, we didn’t have a chance for conversation. We agreed to meet at Bob Evans for brunch.Andrew: When I spoke with Regina, she was dressed in a blue denim jumper with a white t-shirt, and her hair was a little messy. Regina was very easy to talk to, but I didn’t feel the slightest hint of a romantic interest. I suspected she might be one of those girls who didn’t care about her appearance very much.But we had a great conversation about simple living, and the proper use of technology. In fact, we talked pretty much non-stop the entire time, while Mike and Alicia sat listening with smiles on their faces. It was clear Regina and I had a lot in common, especially being writers, but I really didn’t feel attracted to her.Regina: After the weekend in Steubenville, I could admit that I found Andrew Schmiedicke very intellectually interesting. I began to be curious about him, but I wouldn’t say I was attracted to him. In the weeks after our meeting, my thoughts became consumed with the plans for my sister Alicia’s wedding, which was taking place in January. This was our large family’s first wedding, and Alicia and I had already spun out all sorts of plans to make it unique, romantic, and fun. Since I was always involved in party planning for our family, (and I was the maid of honor) I had a lot to do.Alicia wanted to do things for Mike too, and that meant we had to involve the best man in the wedding who just happened to be… you guessed it, Andrew Schmiedicke. This gave me an excuse to call Andrew fairly frequently. We would chat on the phone while I bounced ideas off of him, and explained the sort of things our brothers wanted to do for Mike for the wedding: we wanted the groomsmen to throw him a “bachelor bath” party which was the male version of a shower: it involved the men of the wedding party praying and honoring the groom-to-be—after soaking him to the skin in a watergun attack. Andrew was keen to help out and take the lead, so plans were made.So I was thinking about Andrew, but not romantically. I was glad he was happy to be a partner in the goings-on of our large, enthusiastic family. I was thinking of him that summer, when our family and a dozen other families made our typical joint vacation down to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Those ritual family vacations were almost a retreat, with daily prayer times together, skits, dinners, and beach games. Many of the girls I had gone on vacation with for the past ten years were dating and almost engaged. I was still (sigh) single.My usual strategy was to hang out with the young married couples. I had always had friends of all ages, and I had no problem chatting with moms, holding babies, and playing with kids. One night when I was sitting on the couch in the beach house of one of my friends, I was watching a young dad play with his toddler son, and I thought to myself, You know, that’s what makes Andrew Schmiedicke different from these other guys I’ve dated. I bet he’s the type of guy who would be a good dad.Those words had scarcely finished running through my head when one of the moms, Jane, looked at me keenly. “Regina, who are you thinking about right now?”I blushed instantly. “Uh…” I faltered. “Just some guy I met this summer.”Looking intently at me, she said, “He’s the one for you.”Andrew: My attempts to get to know some of the other Catholic girls on campus went nowhere. What was particularly frustrating was that I was attending a Catholic university where there were so many vibrant and wonderful girls. Couldn’t one of them be the one I was looking for? And yet, it seemed that the elusive “she” was nowhere to be found.Still, I was getting periodic phone calls from Regina regarding plans and events leading up to Mike and Alicia’s wedding in January. I found that Regina, the oldest of ten, had a lot in common with me as the oldest of eleven children. We discovered that we both came from large and rather devout Catholic families. Our occasional conversations were pleasant, but didn’t seem to go beyond that.The week before Thanksgiving, I expressed my frustration to Father Giles. He told me to ask Jesus to bring the young woman into my life who was to be my wife. So I did. “Lord, if you want me to marry, bring the woman into my life!”---------------------------------------------------Regina Doman and Andrew Schmiedicke’s entire courtship story is in Full Quiver’s book: Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship,”.Text copyright 2011 Full Quiver Publishing and Andrew SchmiedickePhoto copyright Andrew Schmiedicke