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The Winning Story for Our Contest


The Contest:

Tell us what you believe is a good description of marriage as designed by God. Tell us the story of you and your beloved or another couple, which exemplifies this. It could be from your own marriage or the story a couple who inspired and influenced you.

Karen Botte's beloved parents

Paul and LaVerne Schraf

Sixty-five years ago, my parents met on a blind date, but God’s eyes were wide open as he visualized his plan for their lives.

Mom and Dad grew up in neighboring small towns in central Pennsylvania. Both were raised in large families with strong Catholic faith, and the common bond  of their upbringing solidified their attraction to one another. Mom was a student at a small Catholic college. Dad had joined the Army and was stationed in Germany, so their relationship developed through letters. 

Karen Botte's beloved parentsCertain of their love, they were united in the sacrament of matrimony in Mom’s neighborhood church. God became their partner in marriage from that day forward. 

I was born ten months after their wedding day and, during the next thirteen years, seven more children joined our family. Our parents instilled in us a love of God and his church not only through their words, but through their actions. We said our meal prayers and night prayers together, prayed the Rosary together and attended Sunday Mass as a family every week. 

The overwhelming task of raising such a large family did not prevent Mom and Dad from nurturing their love for one another. I have witnessed their mutual respect and selfless acts of service Karen Botte and her beloved parentsthroughout my entire life. They have always placed a high priority on togetherness, and only in times of hospitalization have they been separated. Mom and Dad endured many hardships and challenges, but their commitment to God, marriage and family never wavered. God blessed them abundantly with 24 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. 

On the birth of my first child, Mom advised me to always remember that my husband was the one whom I had loved first. She gave each of my siblings the same words of wisdom. I realized that we had never felt loved any less because of the love that Mom and Dad had for one another.

My amazing parents exemplify God’s plan for holy matrimony. I am so proud and blessed to be their daughter.

By Karen Botte
September, 2015


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  • Corrine Lewis

    My husband and I are going to celebrate our 45th anniversary this Oct. 3rd….we have had many wonderful years together…4 sons, 6 grandchildren….and many, many wonderful memories……Things weren’t always fine….but we worked at them and got through those tough times. Our Love for each other has grown throughout the years….and our children see that and always will ask HOW DID YOU GUYS DO IT???? In this world today if something doesn’t go right …it’s get rid of it or them or whatever…..some people just don’t want to take the time to adjust to the new or the bad situation…if you truly and deeply love each other you will find that path and the feelings you had when you first met. I would trade all the riches in this earthly world for my husband and I know he feels the same way. We have recently moved from one part of Florida to another….our final retirement home…and have found a smaller church to go to than the one we belonged to in Tampa area….it is so wonderful to go to church especially on Sunday…as the community is so caring and so warm and welcoming….we love our Pastor and the new friends we have made……Bible Study is a big part of our Life and has been for at least a good five years now….we host weekly sessions in our home….and I Love the feeling I get as I am preparing for our night….when I place the Bible on our coffee table along with candles and grapevine wreath with Grapes and vines I feel as thou Jesus Himself is sitting in that one empty chair I place at each meeting….What a Wonderful Feeling and Atmosphere comes into our home……this too, has been a huge asset to our marriage….Thank You Jesus for Being There For Us!!!!

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