Anne-Marie's story

Anne_marie and Phil I worked in the Public Affairs Office at Archbishop's House from July 1998 to December 1999 and around that time heard of a new group forming called the "Vocations Group for Women" who were going to meet monthly just aroundthe corner from where I was working. At the time I was already searching for some direction as to where the Lord was calling me. It seemed an answer to prayer that a group would be meeting regularly to share and discern the Lord's call on their lives. I attended the group fairly regularly in that first year and was very encouraged by the numbers of young women also searching and the inspiring talks we heard from many gifted speakers.

Several friends came too and some got very involved with the group. Over the months it became clear to me that I was not being called to consecrated life but that more and more I was considering the call to married life. This was the first time I had really stopped to consider marriage as a genuine vocation from God and one that I might be called to. There was no "significant other" in my life at that time, so I was more than a little puzzled at how this was going to work out!

As we approached 2000 and the Year of Jubilee I decided to be bold and ask the Lord for the Jubilee Grace of a clear vocation and path in life. I remember earnestly consecrating the Jubilee Year to the Lord with this intention in mind. Then from mid-January to mid-March I went off travelling "down under" and had a wonderful break away. It also was a time of deep reflection and prayer and I noticed that I really missed a certain friend who had always been until then just "one of the guys" to me.

On my return we found ourselves suddenly spending lots of time together and then were thrown together on a children's ministry team for an Easter the summer there was definitely a marked change in our friendship and we were both praying for guidance. In time our relationship became deeper and on New Year's Eve 2001 Phil asked me to marry him. We married on the 6th July 2002 and spend the third week of our honeymoon on pilgrimage in Toronto with the WYD - both feeling we were receiving a special grace at the start of our marriage!

The Vocations Group was a great help in the process of discernment - of helping me to reflect and pray through some deep questions and issues that enabled me to act and respond in greater freedom to the Lord's call.

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