How He Asked | Danielle + Jeff
Danielle and Jeff grew up 1300 miles from each other, in Florida and Minnesota, respectively. By the time they met at the University of St. Thomas during grad school, Jeff was in seminary, though he’d recently discerned he wasn’t called to continue with formation for the priesthood. They’d cross paths within the same group of friends here and there, but Danielle was surprised and hesitant when, the following year, Jeff made it clear he’d like to actively pursue her heart.
In Danielle’s Words: I wasn’t initially sure how I felt about Jeff, because there wasn’t an immediate attraction. For us, the attraction grew as we got to know each other. After a few dates and receiving flowers and notes in the mail, I decided I would give Jeff a chance and become his girlfriend.
That was the best decision I ever made.
Though I didn’t have all the answers and there were still many uncertainties, I trusted God and he blessed our relationship. Jeff and I continue to help each other grow in our faith, and I’ve certainly learned much more about the Church since we’ve been together. At the start of our relationship, we began going to Mass together in the Extraordinary Form and found so much beauty within this tradition. All of a sudden it became a habit, and we found ourselves attending the Latin Mass at the same church every Sunday.
Fast forward to three years later.
It was a Saturday morning in February. I was up, getting ready, and putting my makeup on as I waited for Jeff to pick me up for a visit to his sister, Christine’s--the night before, Christine had texted me asking if we could meet up for her to give me something. Once we were in the car, Christine called asking if we could change our meeting location, to Jeff’s brother Jeremy’s house near our parish. As we were driving to what I thought was Jeremy’s house, Jeff was actually taking me to our church to pop the question!
Although I didn’t know Jeff had been planning to propose that day, I’d seen this coming for a long time. Both of us had long known we were called to marriage, yet until recently, neither of us had the money or stable income to move forward with our life together. After many novenas and prayers, Jeff had just found a great job working for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Soon after starting his new position, he began planning a surprise proposal.
When Jeff pulled into the church parking lot, I was so confused. He asked if we could stop in for a quick prayer. We walked in together; he took the lead. I followed Jeff to a front pew.
After praying, Jeff handed me a colorful picture book, telling me me to open it and explore our memories together. As I flipped through the pages, I saw the course of our relationship. Family. Friends. Good times together.
I turned to the last page. Written there was Will you be my everything? At that moment my heart was racing! I was overcome with emotion, but Jeff remained calm and asked me to stand. He pulled a small black box from his pocket with a white gold ring inside.
After sharing a long, loving embrace, Jeff asked me if I wanted to wear the ring and I nodded with anticipation. Christine met us in the front of the church. She was in on the ruse the whole time and had been taking photos from the choir loft. It was one of the most joyful moments of our lives.