Annelise and Jay – a Marian love story
|Annelise and Jay are grateful to Our Lady for helping them to discern God’s will for them. Photo: Patrick Lee.|
For two young people, the experience of World Youth Day in Madrid last year was one of many blessings. They came by different paths to the Spanish city where they joined Bishop Anthony Fisher OP and almost 300 pilgrims from the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta for the experience of a lifetime.
Annelise O’Brien-Muller is a member of St Patrick’s Cathedral Parish in Parramatta and the Event Manager with Catholic Youth Services, Sydney. Annelise was with the diocesan pilgrim group that made its way to Madrid via Lourdes and a section of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela (known as The Way) in northern Spain.
Jay Pamintuan is a member of St Michael’s Parish at South Blacktown and made his pilgrimage to Madrid through the Holy Land with a large group led by Bishop Anthony.
On his journey, Jay took with him a special ring that he wore on a chain around his neck, hidden under his T-shirt. “Every time I went to a holy place I took it off and put it in a special place,” he said. “Each time, I said a little prayer to Christ through Mary to help strengthen me in my discernment in this next pilgrimage in my life.”
At the chapel in Cana in Galilee, Jay took the ring to Bishop Anthony and asked if he would bless it.
Each day Jay kept a diary of letters to Annelise, which recorded where he was, where the ring had gone, what it had touched and where it was blessed.
Jay sought guidance through prayer to Our Lady to find a day of religious significance for Annelise. The Feast of the Coronation fell on 22 August, the day after WYD Madrid was over.
At the beginning of 2011, Annelise had prayed a novena to Our Lady of Good Success to help her discern where Our Lady and God wanted her life to go. “It just so happened that I found out that the original statue of Our Lady of Good Success was based in a church in Madrid.”
Annelise mentioned this to Jay. He discovered that the church was only two train stops from where the pilgrims were staying during WYD week. On visiting the church he discovered Mass would be celebrated on the evening of 22 June.
“When we got to the church we were both tired,” he said. “The Mass was celebrated in Spanish, of course, with a Spanish priest. “After Mass I wanted to wait until everyone had left the church to ask Annelise if she would pray the rosary with me.”
Halfway through, they both started to get sleepy. “Afterwards, I took her hand and asked her if she would come and kneel with me in front of Our Lady?
“As we were about to kneel, I knelt in front of Annelise and said, ‘On this wonderful day, on this glorious Feast Day of Our Lady, crowned Queen of Heaven I have been blessed with a woman like Our Lady, so beautiful and so radiant. There would be no one else on this earth that I would like to journey with. Will you be my queen here on earth? Will you marry me?’”
nnelise said she had no idea Jay was going to propose. “He had been carrying that ring underneath his T-shirt the whole time and he hid it really well. Of course I said yes. It was a perfect ending to WYD.”
Suddenly wide awake with excitement and joy the couple celebrated with a feast a nearby restaurant. “We called our families and sent text messages telling them that I had proposed and Annelise had accepted,” Jay said.
It was then that Jay showed his beloved the letters he had written to share with her the journey of the ring. “I described where I had prayed and the emotions I felt throughout the whole time, spiritually and physically; every day discerning if this is what God was calling me to do, to marry this woman and make a family with her.”
Jay and Annelise were married by Bishop Julian Porteous in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Parramatta on 16 June this year, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The couple share their story in a media gallery of Pilgrim Testimonials on the Diocese of Parramatta’s WYD Rio website: www.parrawyd.org