The Daily Mail is reporting on the story of Miranda Emde from Huntingdon Beach, California who presented St. Anne with a list of 16 qualities that she wished to find in a husband. On the top of the list was the most important quality – that he be “a strong Catholic man who practices his faith, loves his faith, seeks to grow and is a true man of God” and who will be “the spiritual leader in the family”. This is followed by the usual list of being a true gentleman with a good sense of humor, strong morals, a big heart and who has strong family values.
In October, 2013, she went to Rome on a vacation with her mother and spotted a handsome Swiss Guard named Jonathan Binaghi standing guard near the Vatican. Her mother, Martha Emde, encouraged her to go up and talk to him.
“My mom forced me to go up to this Swiss Guard at the St. Anne’s Gate and ask him his advice on living here. We had a spark right away and there was something different about his demeanor I’ve never seen before.”
At the time, Binaghi was wearing the powder blue regular duty uniform, and she thought, “Oh, he’s handsome. It takes a handsome man to look good in pajamas.”
The two exchanged e-mails and stayed in touch when she returned to the U.S. where she works as a marketing manager with Wells Fargo.
What started on email eventually turned to texts, then to phone calls.
“Over the phone, I could feel he was different than other men. He’s very dignified,” she told the Orange County Register.
It’s a quality well suited to a member of the Pontifical Swiss Guard. In order to become a member of the elite squad which has guarded the pope since the 1400s, a man must be single, a college graduate, complete training with the Swiss army and swear an oath to defend the Pope with his life. Jonathan completed all requirements.
Their relationship eventually bloomed into romance and a year later, Emdi was back on a plane and heading to Rome to see him again. He picked her up at the airport and took her to dinner at the Pantheon, then surprised her with news that he was taking her to meet Pope Francis.
The meeting took place at 6:00 a.m. at the Pope's residence where she met him, kissed his ring, and asked him to bless the two of them. They were encouraged to “have a beautiful family with lots of children!”
By the end of the week, they knew they had found their life partner.
The first thing Binaghi had to do was quit the Swiss Guard which requires all of its members to remain single. He then flew to Orange County and approached Miranda’s father to ask for her hand in marriage.
Chuck Emde didn’t say yes right away. Instead, he asked Jonathan a “trick” question. “What is the meaning of love?”
Jonathan answered, “Love is completely giving yourself to someone else and asking for nothing in return.”
It was the right answer. Jonathan received permission to marry Miranda and the two are planning to wed in Rome on October 17 at Santa Caterina Church. The celebrant will be Cardinal Raymond Burke. The following day, the two will be blessed with a private Mass with Pope Francis.
Of the 16 qualities she listed in her prayer to St. Anne, Jonathan fulfilled every one!
Emde is telling her story to the world with the hopes of encouraging other women to pray for the man of their dreams and don’t make compromises.
“I hope my story gives women inspiration [so] they can stick to their list and keep their standards.”
The two are planning to make their home in California.
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