When my mom, Kay, was in high school...back in the early 1950's, her brother, Fr. Bernie Voges wanted to take her to Europe. In order for her to go her mother, my grandmother, told her she had to break up with the guy she was dating. Then while in Europe she was to go to the Grotto in Lourdes, France and pray for her religious vocation. My mom must have not been too much in love with the guy because she had no problem breaking up with him and taking off for Europe. She did indeed find the Holy Grotto in Lourdes, France. As she knelt at the foot of the statue of The Blessed Virgin Mary she didn't quite pray the prayer her mother told her to pray. No, this is what she told our beautiful Blessed Mary, "I do not want to be a nun. However, if I'm blessed with children they can become nuns and priests."
My parents both grew up in Tell City, Indiana. My dad was a year ahead of my mom in school. He was a classmate of my mom's brother, Uncle Junie. They often spent time together at my mom's house. In fact, the three of them used to triple date, each with a different date. In other words, my parents did not date each other in high school, but they did hang out together with their friends. Dad enjoyed going to my mom's house because there was never a dull moment there. My mom is one of nine kids. My dad is the youngest of two kids. His sister, Aunt Gloria, is six years his elder. My dad enjoyed all the activities and fun that took place in the Voges home.
As time went on Mom and Dad ended up at the same college in Terre Haute, IN. They were friends but they didn't date. Dad had a girlfriend and mom had a boyfriend. Mom ended up leaving college to go home to take care of her mother who was often sick. Dad ended up leaving college to go to the army. When dad got out of the army he went to barber school and became a barber. He decided it was time for him to get married. When he thought about who would be a good mate for him for some reason my mom came to his mind. He called her up
and said, "I'm getting married and I'm giving you first cracks!" (I kid you not!)
My mom was dumbfounded. She called her brother, Fr. Bernie and asked him what she should do. He told her to go on retreat and pray about it. He also told my mom she could do worse than Paul Etienne! Luckily for me, and my siblings, God told her to marry Paul Etienne.Six months later my parents were married. That was 51 years ago. My parents are still healthy and loving and serving God in Tell City, IN.
Now remember when I told you about what my mom prayed for when she was at Lourdes...that her children could have the religious vocations? Well, her prayer was answered. Mom and Dad have six children, three sons are priests and I am a Benedictine Sister. I also have a handsome brother who has a beautiful wife with three terrific children and a lovely sister who also has three wonderful children.
My parents have always been role models of prayer for their children. Loving and serving God was our number one priority growing up. God has always been the center of my parents' marriage. I thank God often for the faith and trust my parents had in the dreams God had for them.
Paul and Kay Etienne