Ever since childhood, Mary Therese dreamed of her vocation as a wife and mother.
“There was always something so beautiful about the idea of marriage that attracted me; the beauty of the husband and wife helping each other on the way to heaven and raising a holy family of saints.”
Growing up, Mary Therese would see those large 12 and 15 passenger vans on the road and think to herself, “I want one of those someday and I want to fill it with all my kids.” 12 children, Mary Therese says, is her absolute minimum.
Her only problem: finding a husband.
In her home state of Wisconsin, Mary Therese, 24, prayed her fair share of novenas and Rosaries for finding her future husband. The prospects at the young adult events she attended were slim, and so to give herself more options, she also signed up for online Catholic dating. However, as time passed, she began to get discouraged.
After getting let go from her job, Mary Therese relented that she needed to move forward with her life. Realizing that she should find a more stable way to support herself, she signed up for a program at the local technical college. “If marriage happened someday, great! But for now, I was going to give up on that dream.”
A Kansas farmer looking for his needle in a haystack.
Yet, not long after, she received a message notification on CatholicMatch from a man named Wilf. Feeling very skeptical of anybody with such a name, she logged in anyway to view his profile. “I was pleasantly surprised!” An authentically Catholic man who just so happened to be a farmer—two qualities Mary Therese had deeply desired when praying for her future husband. After showing her sister his profile, her sister remarked that Mary Therese and Wilf were like twins!
Wilf, 26, spent most of his time working on his family’s farm, which made meeting new people difficult. He did not initially like the idea of online dating, but after a long debate with himself, he decided to give it a try.
Wilf spent two months online before finding Mary Therese’s profile. When he did, he was floored. “I thought it nearly impossible that there could be another Catholic so much like me,” Wilf remarks.
“Well, you can bet that I messaged him back right away!”
Mary Therese quickly responded to Wilf’s message, and soon the messages were flying back and forth. Then came that first phone call, which was ‘delightful’, in the couple’s words. A few phone calls later and the two were planning their first in-person visit.
Being a farmer, Wilf strategically planned his trip from Kansas to Wisconsin around some farming business. His family had purchased a combine head at an auction in Iowa, and so after picking it up on the way, Wilf arrived at Mary Therese’s house… with the 35-foot combine head on a trailer behind him!
After meeting Mary Therese’s family, the couple spent their first date driving almost three hours north to the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, and going biking afterward. About a month later, Mary Therese drove down to Kansas to visit Wilf on his farm.
Wilf had always “prayed to be sure” when he met his future wife.
And on that visit at his farm, he told Mary Therese that he was sure about her. “It was there that he first told me he loved me—taking me completely by surprise.” Being a very shy person with little dating experience, Mary Therese experienced a rollercoaster of emotions. This didn’t phase Wilf, and he assured her to take as much time as she needed to decide about him.
That began their dating relationship, and many back and forth visits, long-distance phone calls, and video chats followed. Wilf soon became Mary Therese’s very best friend, and she grew in admiration for his faith and trust in God. Mary Therese says that she always thought her family was very Catholic, but Wilf and his family were “Catholic to the max!”
“If anybody was meant to be my partner in life to get me to Heaven, Wilf was definitely the one. He was so much holier than me! I found myself falling in love with him.”
Shortly after Christmas 2020, Mary Therese and her family visited Wilf’s farm in Kansas. It was there that Mary Therese told Wilf she loved him back. And at his next visit up to Wisconsin—in the middle of a snowstorm in below zero temperatures—Wilf proposed. The weather was so cold that they couldn’t really go anywhere, so he found a quiet moment at Mary Therese’s family’s house to ask the question.
A long-distance engagement didn’t stop them from a beautiful June wedding.
Since it was soon planting season, which is the busiest time of year for a farmer, the couple juggled wedding planning and marriage preparation with Wilf’s responsibilities to the farm. Technology was very helpful in this case, since they only ended up seeing each other in person twice during their five-month engagement. They did all of their marriage prep online, and even practiced their first dance (the waltz from Disney’s 2015 Cinderella) via video chat!
The couple was joined in marriage that June at Mary Therese’s home parish, during a beautifully reverent Latin Novus Ordo Mass. The music was performed by the church choir of which Mary Therese had been a part of for many years. Mary Therese says her favorite part of the day was the dancing. Despite learning their first dance waltz virtually, and only practicing it together in person a couple of times, it went perfectly! A second choreographed dance with the wedding party also went well, despite only one practice (the night before!).
Now that they are married, they can’t wait to start having their 12 kids!