Matt C. Abbott
An uplifting story about love and marriage
By Matt C. Abbott
January 11, 2010

The other day while looking through some Facebook posts, I came across what I think is a very thoughtful and inspiring reflection by Mary Cate Bratcher of South Carolina. Mary Cate was responding to someone on my "friends list" who's been struggling with issues regarding romantic relationships.

The following is an edited version — provided to me by Mary Cate herself upon my asking — of what she wrote in the Facebook post:

    'In the journey of life, people are amazed at the place God has brought them to and who is with them! We never know who God is going to bring into our life in the future. Sometimes when we feel like we are in the forsaken wilderness we get inquisitive wondering, if this is all there is to life. When we are content with our lives and what we are doing, God changes everything and we are on a new path on life's highway.

    'Jeremiah 29:11-14 (the RSV, Second Catholic Edition):

      'For I know well the plans for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places from where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.'

    'Years ago I met a man who told me he had been engaged. His wife-to-be ran off and married his best friend, scarring his heart and wounding him deeply. He no longer trusted women because she was not the first woman to hurt him. He lost his soul mate and best friend, so he graduated from college and buried himself in his work. Later at a business conference, he met a woman he wanted to date. She would not date him because she was dating someone else.

    'Shortly after they met, this woman experienced a terrible personal tragedy. She had to go through the dark night of the soul alone and would not let the man in her heart. She only trusted God.

    'Many years later, they began talking again. He flew half way across the United States to take her out to dinner. He liked her because of her faith and the fact that she was not high maintenance!

    'One day she got a phone call that he had a mini-stroke (at age 36) and was ill. He asked her move across the country to be his assistant at work so he would not lose his job, his home or his health insurance. They were friends and got married the following year. She knew she was not his first love or even his first choice, but she married him anyway. She wanted to show him unconditional love and be there to journey with him through life.

    'He was burned in an explosion at their home three years ago. When his wife saw a fireball going straight toward her husband's head she could do nothing but scream 'God have mercy.' She was in shock but helped get the flames out and called an ambulance.

    'He was apologizing to her in the ambulance because he thought he was going to die that night. She encouraged him and told him he had hope and not to give up because he had God. She was crying in the front seat and the ambulance driver told her she had to calm her husband down; he might not make it. His blood pressure went through the ceiling and the pain was unbearable. They were trying to put an IV in his burned arm and veins. She continued to assure her husband God would help him.

    'A big concern was he had been paralyzed years ago. This led to a greater risk of respiratory failure due to his lungs being 40 percent paralyzed already. At age 20, he was in a horrible car accident in which his dad drove off a bridge (due to a seizure) and his mom had been killed instantly.

    'Now, he burned nearly 30 percent of his body; every part of his body that was not paralyzed was burned and he felt such intense pain. He wondered how God could have let that happen and his wife said, 'God knows because you have feeling in those areas your burns will heal faster.'

    'He was life-flighted to a burn center in another state and his wife did not know if she would see him alive again. She trusted God to do what was best for her husband as she traveled by car. His skin on his head and face was burned off and the pain was excruciating. He almost lost his ears, nose and lips. He thought about giving up and refusing to eat so he could slip away. Now he had his dark night of the soul and she could help him because she had gone through the tragedy that almost separated their lives forever. Her dark night of the soul was now helping someone else.

    'His wife left the hospital only once to take a shower across the street from the burn center. After that, she took a sponge bath in a hospital bathroom. She slept sitting up in a chair in the waiting room for weeks and would not leave, even though visiting times were short. He decided to eat and fight because knew she was not going to leave him no matter what he looked like.

    'For better, for worse, until death do us part. My husband is healed and has scars on his arms, chest and foot. He has the exhaustion that goes with being a burn survivor. His hands, face, ears, nose and lips healed perfectly after a very painful surgery. We were both afraid for his eyesight but it turned out fine. It is a good thing I wasn't high maintenance with all the medical bills we have! I am not the love of his life or a supermodel; I am just faithful. We will be married eight years this month.

    'I will not remarry if anything happens to my husband; I want only the peace and quiet that God alone brings. I had more time in my single life to do certain things for God I cannot do now, yet there are things my husband helps me do for God that I could not do as easily alone. In God we trust.'

    (C) 2010, Mary Cate Bratcher (South Carolina), All Rights Reserved

Also of note: Mary Cate likes to compose pro-life poetry. The following is a sample of her work.

Death for My Convenience

I was in college
And thought I was grown.
I felt like a big shot
Doing whatever I wanted living on my own.

I was into the campus party life,
Throwing caution to the wind.
My boyfriend and I played house
Like we were husband and wife.

Before I knew it, I was pregnant with child.
I lied to myself
And went into denial.
I thought of my baby as a blob.

My sister paid for my abortion.
Mother could not find out.
All I wanted was my degree
And do whatever I darn well pleased.

I almost bled to death after the abortion procedure.
I was in physical pain
And never thought about what I had done
to my little son!

My boyfriend dumped me,
I married someone else.
I began to drink, curse and act wild.
I never knew it had to do with what I did to my child.

I went to the hospital
Countless times for attempted suicide.
I wanted to die.
I'd lived a lie.

One night I fell on my knees.
I begged God, "Please forgive me."
I realized my abortion was my choice.
My baby boy had no voice.

My baby's fate was doomed
By having him torn apart
And ripped right out of my womb.
I had chosen his death for my convenience.

(C) 2010 — Mary Cate Bratcher
All Rights Reserved

(In Loving Memory of Sarra's Baby)

© Matt C. Abbott


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on HLN, MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 2019 ‘Unsolved’ podcast about the unsolved murder of Father Alfred Kunz, Alex Shuman's 'Smoke Screen: Fake Priest' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wisconsin. He’s been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and other media outlets. He’s mentioned in the 2020 Report on the Holy See's Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930 to 2017), which can be found on the Vatican's website. He can be reached at

(Note: I welcome and appreciate thoughtful feedback. Insults will be ignored. Only in very select cases will I honor a request to have a telephone conversation about a topic in my column. Email is much preferred. God bless you and please keep me in your prayers!)


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