Newman Guide Colleges Can Help Students Find ‘Holy Spouses,’ Says Author
A Catholic author who studied how saints met their spouses believes that attending a Newman Guide college can “increase one’s odds to find a holy spouse.”
Patrick O’Hearn just released a book titled, Courtship of the Saints: How the Saints Met their Spouses. O’Hearn earned his Master of Science in Education at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio, and served as acquisitions editor at TAN Books for the last two years.
The Cardinal Newman Society asked O’Hearn how his book can inspire young Catholics today, and the value he sees in students attending a college recognized in The Newman Guide.
CNS: Can you tell us about your new book, Courtship of the Saints: How the Saints Met their Spouses?
Patrick O’Hearn: Courtship of the Saints is a book filled with some of the most fascinating stories of how various saintly couples met their spouses. In this work, I was able to interview St. Gianna’s daughter, reveal details in English for the first time concerning Pope St. John Paul II’s parents (now on the path to sainthood), and countless other beautiful couples.
Before I share these couples’ stories, I define what courtship is through the clear teachings of Venerable Fulton Sheen and Father Chad Ripperger. At the end of the book, I include wisdom for those discerning marriage, those already married, and a plethora of beautiful prayers. This is not just a book for those discerning marriage, but even those married will see that the saints were the greatest lovers in the history of the world.
CNS: How can the 25 saintly couples that you feature in your book inspire young Catholics today?
Patrick O’Hearn: We need to set the bar on courtship and marriage, especially in a time of moral confusion. God calls some men and women to Himself. These souls will spend years preparing for the priesthood and final vows in religious life, and yet, many preparing for marriage spend little time striving for their vocation. How one prepares for their marriage can likely influence how one lives out his or her marriage.
Furthermore, these 25 couples offer a glimpse into God’s love for His Spouse, the Church. In these stories, we see a love that is passionate and sacrificial. For that reason, these stories are better than any romantic novel, for they return to the source of love itself, God.
CNS: The college years are often so critical in determining much of the faith and future of a young person’s life. What value do you see in attending a Newman Guide college, not only to prepare for a career, but also for students who are called to the married life?
Patrick O’Hearn: Our first vocation is to be holy. How we live out that vocation (as a priest, consecrated religious, or married) is our second most important calling. Often, young people are so focused on pursuing their occupation rather than their vocation. Our occupation is always at the service of our vocation. The key is to let God reveal our vocation by being open to His will, but also putting ourselves in the best possible places to hear His will. Just as there is the near occasion of sin, there is something on the flip side. The near occasion of grace. That being said, attending a Newman Guide college with its promotion of the sacramental life, faithfulness to the Magisterium, and flowering of Catholic culture increases grace in one’s soul, but also increases one’s odds to find a holy spouse. You are more likely to find a holy spouse at daily Mass than you will at a bar. You are more likely to find a holy spouse sitting in a theology class than sitting in a class on LGBT studies.
CNS: How did your time at Franciscan University of Steubenville earning your master’s degree help prepare you for both writing this book, and your work at TAN books?
Patrick O’Hearn: My time as a graduate student at Franciscan University of Steubenville opened my eyes to the longing on every heart for love. Having served as a resident assistant at Franciscan, I saw so many men who were afraid to pursue women, and so many women who wanted to be pursued. Through my own sufferings, rejections, and disappointments, I believe God prepared me to write this book to give hope to so many people that our God is the “Greatest Matchmaker.” His Divine Providence works mysteriously, but powerfully. We do not know the road ahead of us, but Our Lord and Our Lady walk with us each step of the way.
CNS: Anything else you’d like to add?
Patrick O’Hearn: I would like to say “trust” in God. I spent so many years worrying about my future vocation. Now more than ever, I realize the Father is carrying us in His arms. He longs for our love. He wants to bless us, and this blessing might come in the way of sufferings and trials. But through these challenges, God is perfecting us. Trust Him… whether it is attending an authentic Catholic school that might hurt the budget, or trust Him when you are worried about meeting your spouse. God is faithful.