Saint Benedict Center's main site is An online Journal edited by the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Richmond, New Hampshire.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Path of Grace

By William and Christine Wrobleski
December 31, 2009
Local News

Coming to Saint Benedict Center has been, for Chris and me, a long-term stop on a difficult journey. Hopefully, in the end we will see a situation in which any Catholic in America will be able to go to any parish and find the Traditional Latin Mass along with solid teachings on every aspect of the Faith. My selfish prayer is that my wonderful wife and I will live to see and participate in this restoration. In the meantime, Saint Benedict Center is a good place for us to be.

We are both fifty-nine years old and are cradle Catholics, born twelve years before Vatican II. I went to Catholic school K through 12 and Chris went to Catholic school until third grade. Even with the faults of the Baltimore Catechism, we were pretty well formed in the Faith.

The liberalism that hit the Church in the wake of Vatican II came at a bad time for people our age. Imagine being in your mid-teens and all of a sudden being told that much of what you were taught about faith and morality was not important. It caused me pretty much to leave the Church around 1972 or so. I mean, why bother practicing when you’re told by your “teachers” in a Catholic school, and by priests, that going to Mass is not necessary to save your soul? I would go to Mass on occasion, but I didn’t care much.

I was married in 1972 and ended up divorced in 1982. My former wife cared less about the Faith than I did. Our two children, David and Amy, were being brought up nominally Catholic, but I failed as a parent when it came to teaching my children the Faith.

My divorce was not particularly contentious, but it was difficult for me, as I did intend to stay married permanently. In this situation, however, I had no choice; I just had to make the best of it.. I was away from the Church at that time, so I wasn’t thinking of Catholic teaching regarding dating or anything. (I now know that I should have waited for the Church’s annulment before dating.) In any event, I used to go to a nightclub where an early thirties crowd went to dance and drink. I didn’t drink, so I went to dance and, hopefully, meet the woman of my dreams.

On March 17, 1984, I was at this nightclub on a Saturday night and I looked up and saw a stunning redhead whom I had never seen there before. Little did I know Our Lord had just blessed me greatly. I asked her to dance, and the rest is history.

We were married on September 8, 1985 in a Congregational Church. At the time I wasn’t sure if I even believed in God, but I liked the idea of there being a God. Chris did believe in God, but she didn’t try to force it on me. Looking back it appears that she was just waiting for me to wake-up to reality some day.

In 1986, we bought an old farm house with a barn and twelve acres in Chester, Massachusetts. This was a dream come true for me. We could now grow our own food and we had access to good areas for hunting and fishing. At first, poor Chris came along kicking and screaming but, in time, she ended up loving her new lifestyle. At the time I was not attending any church, Chris, however, would sometimes go to the Novus Ordo at the local parish.

The summer of 1987 was to become extremely important to us. I started praying to God that if He was really there to somehow show me. Shortly after that, which would be the end of May 1987, I became very sick. At first we thought it was the flu, but after three then four weeks we became concerned.

During that summer the doctors ran many tests but found nothing wrong. I worried that I was dying, maybe of AIDS or something, but I wasn’t in any risk group for AIDS. I was getting worried, so I started praying, mostly to Our Lady and St. Jude. Then I started reading about miraculous healings at Lourdes and, with my appreciation of science, I was impressed by the documented evidence. One night, while reading more of these documented miracles from Lourdes, it dawned on me that the Faith I was born into was real.

In late August, 1987, I learned that, back in May, I had picked up a parasite while shoveling manure for our garden. I finally recovered about two months later and started attending the Novus Ordo with my wife. In early 1988 we made Cursillo and I got involved with the Medjugorje movement. We had been away from the Church for so long and just wanted to “do Catholic stuff.” Little did we know at the time how dangerous to the Faith both of these movements are.

In 1992, I received an annulment of my first marriage. Due to certain circumstances I probably would have been granted one even in more Catholic times. That same year Chris and I were married in the Catholic Church.

After learning what had happened to our beloved Church since Vatican II, we slowly started moving toward tradition. Our first exposure was the 1993 Easter Triduum at Saint Benedict Center in Still River, Massachusetts. We started going there as regularly as possible, even though it was a two hour ride from home. Brother Thomas Augustine and especially Brother Joseph (God rest his soul) were a great help to us.

By 1997, Massachusetts was becoming more and more hostile to hunters, gun owners, and anyone who wanted to live reasonably free. We decided it was time to move to New Hampshire, the last state in the Northeast that seemed to respect the rights of its citizens.

We visited Saint Benedict Center in Richmond in January 1998 and had a long chat with Brother Francis and the other religious. Soon afterwards we started attending Mass there and night classes. We moved to Richmond in August 1999 and joined one of the study circles. It’s been ten years now and, yes, they sure have gone by in a flash. Most of our friends are connected with SBC and they, along with the religious, have helped us to grow in and keep the Faith. We try to help out at the monastery whenever we can as it is a very active place, very hospitable, and the brothers and sisters can always use helping hands. SBC has become a home for us — more than that, a family. Hopefully, we can become less unworthy of such a gift from God.

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