Even in the midst of hardship, God can work to bring abundant goodness. This was the case for Emily Didrick, whose life was in a difficult moment when, she feels, God set her on a path He had laid to bring her to greater happiness.
After teaching English for years at Bishop Dwenger High School, Fort Wayne, she had decided to leave at the end of the 2016-17 school year to get married and move out of state. But things didn’t work out the way she had planned, and her engagement ended abruptly. “It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with in my life,” Didrick admitted.
Bishop Luers High School, also in Fort Wayne, had a teaching position available in the English department that summer. “Fortunately, God provided an opening at Luers not even 24 hours afterward.”
Didrick has found a home and happiness at Bishop Luers. “Upon my interview at Luers, I had what can only be described as a sense of peace regarding my decision to take the job. From day one, its faculty and students have demonstrated time and time again the Beatitudes of Jesus Christ. Their love and support helped me through a very challenging time.”
Although Didrick was raised Catholic, she hadn’t attended Catholic schools. This left a gap in her catechesis, and she had opted out of confirmation. “I missed out on a large part of the formation that occurs … so I had no idea of the significance of confirmation.”
When she was first hired at a Catholic school, she was advised to consider being confirmed. She put if off for years, though, “because I wasn’t finding a parish that was a good fit for me.” Around the time she began to work at Bishop Luers, it was recommended that she attend Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. “I did and fell in love with the parish,” she remembered.
To Didrick, the cathedral “mirrors the face of our global Church.” The diversity and beauty of the church helps her to connect to her faith in a deeper way. She was also pleased to see many of her students from Bishop Luers at the cathedral’s liturgies.
Throughout this time of searching, she felt God nudging her to complete her sacraments of initiation as well as join the parish. Within the next year, she did.
God wasn’t finished with Didrick’s love life, either. Three years after the breakup, she was introduced to Michael Ream through a mutual friend. Hindsight had helped her to see the flaws in her previous relationship, particularly her ex-fiancé’s opposition to a Catholic wedding and raising potential children in the faith. As she started dating Ream, Didrick decided she would not make the same concessions for the sake of a relationship. She had found the strength to stand up for her faith. “I was very upfront with Mike about my religious beliefs and my hopes to raise children in the Church. While Mike isn’t Catholic himself, he understood this desire and supports this for our marriage and family.”
After working with former Bishop Luers Campus Ministry Director Beth Carlin, Didrick decided she would like to receive confirmation at the high school, standing as an example of faith for the students. She was confirmed by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades at his pastoral visit on Jan. 15. “I thought it only fitting that I would be confirmed in the place that ultimately made me feel so at home and loved,” she explained. Carlin served as her sponsor and Ream was able to make the drive from Indianapolis to witness the rite.
Not only had God provided for Didrick’s financial and spiritual needs with a career and a Catholic community, she feels, He brought Ream into her life — providing her with an exceptional relationship. “Mike knew that he would be asked to examine his faith life during this process. And he was up for the challenge.”
Ream and Didrick are planning a wedding for October. They chose to be married at the cathedral, in part because Didrick’s grandmother, as well as her brother and sister, had been married there. They are comfortably part of the parish and thrilled to work with pastor Father Jacob Runyon for their marriage preparation.
Didrick stated, “I can see how this desire to marry in the Church has been helpful in drawing Mike and I closer together in our faith.” She related that they have been attending Mass together and that Ream has encouraged her to continue watching the Mass from home throughout the duration of the quarantine.
While the path of her life might have taken an unexpected turn, it seems as though God has used the twists and turns to bring Didrick back to a place of happiness, peace and love.
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