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‘A beautiful and priceless gift’

September 30, 2020

Editor’s note: The following is an installment of an ongoing series featuring how Catholics of the Diocese of Ogdensburg are living out their faith. To suggest an individual to be featured in this series, please call the North Country Catholic at 315-393-2920 or email dfargo@rcdony.org.

By Darcy Fargo


By Darcy Fargo

OGDENSBURG – Faith brought Jesse and Stacey Sovie of Ogdensburg together, and their faith continues to help them sustain their marriage.

“Stacey and I met through the online dating site CatholicMatch.com,” said Jesse. “Looking back, we can both reflect on how each of us knew how important our faith was to us and how important it was in finding our future spouse. So, three years of marriage and two kids later, it really shouldn't be a surprise to see how much faith meant to each of us. But having said that, I am still astounded and amazed at God's working of bringing us together as a couple. Having a spouse that I can share my faith with openly and can walk this faith journey side by side with is such a beautiful and priceless gift – a gift that I still remain so grateful to God for.”

Both Jesse and Stacey, members of St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish, were raised in the Catholic faith, but both can point to moments when they realized the importance of that faith.

“Though my faith has been a part of my life from the very beginning, it wasn’t until the passing of a loved one that things started to take root,” Stacey said. “My parents raised me in the Church, and I went through the motions of going to Mass, but on the day of my grandmother’s passing, the view I had of my faith changed. My grandmother was a very devout Catholic, and there were countless times I would say the rosary or attend Mass with her. She had a very strong faith. It wasn’t until after she was gone that I realized that she had instilled it in me. It was something that she had nurtured in me. That’s when I started to notice her true devotion to our Lady and to our Lord. As a high school teen, I made it a point to start nurturing my faith a bit more, and now it is a part of my life that I could never live without. To this day I still marvel at how much she had influenced my faith in God.”

“I was born and raised in a faithful Catholic family,” added Jesse. “We went to Mass every week. We said Grace before meals and said prayers before travelling. I served as an altar server when I was younger. Faith was just a part of our family life from the very beginning. But I would have to say my conversion experience or moment happened back when I was around 21. Between 2010 and 2011, I thought I knew my faith through and through, but I still felt like it was lacking. In retrospect, I can see how God gave me the grace of awareness back then, as around that time I began to realize how little I actually knew about my faith. I had an interest back then in joining a Bible study, thinking that would help me learn more. That thought process eventually led me down the trail of enrolling in the Formation for Ministry - Commissioned Lay Minister Program. Upon enrolling in that program in 2011, the knowledge, experiences and friendships I gained were priceless. Upon being commissioned in 2013, I began working in a variety of ministries that have been so rewarding and nourishing for my faith. Like any conversion, it doesn't end, and it simply continues on as one ongoing journey.”

Stacey said she continues to nurture that faith by attending weekly Mass and by praying the Rosary with Jesse. She said she hopes to start including her young daughter in this practice, and she also hopes to resume an earlier practice of attending daily Mass.

“As our daughter gets a little older, we would like to make it a tradition of doing a family rosary together,” she said. “Before our son was born, Jesse and I would take turns going to daily morning Mass. On days (Jesse) went to morning Mass, I would make a point to go to noon Mass with our daughter, Rebecca. Times are a bit more difficult to accomplish these goals, but I would eventually like to get back to this routine.”

Jesse noted the couple also says Grace before meals and take that moment to thank God for the gifts He’s given them. Jesse also points to his participation in men’s groups as important to helping him grow his faith.

“Being able to meet up with and be surrounded by faithful men every week has been an amazing and crucial experience in my faith journey,” Jesse said. “Our men’s group name MSM – Men Sharpen Men – is based on Proverbs 27:17 which states, ‘Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.’ Our experience as a group relates that truth. At the beginning of this year, we as a group decided to embark on a spiritual journey of undertaking the program Exodus 90. The program consists of dedicating time each day for prayer; meeting as a fraternity every week; each man pairing up with another to serve as an anchor for each other. In addition, each man is required to give up a variety of daily things over the course of 90 days, as each seeks to cut out distractions, addictions, and certain comforts which hinder us from seeking God on a deeper level. It certainly was no small undertaking, but it was absolutely worth it!”

That faith has been critical in helping them through challenging times.

“My faith has been my cornerstone of my life and has helped me through many challenging times but one time that specifically comes to mind is my first pregnancy,” Stacey said. “My husband and I were so excited when we realized that we were going to have our first baby. It was the beginning of a new year and I thought it was all going to be a cake walk. Little did I know that for the next five months, I would be sick as a dog and wouldn’t be able to leave my bed or eat anything but dried toast, apple sauce, bananas and sip ginger ale through a straw.”

Stacey was so sick during her pregnancy, she had to go the emergency room for IV fluids on more than one occasion.

“I was so tired and scared that something horrific would happen to my baby from me being so sick,” she said. “I also remember thinking that I wasn’t sure I could handle another pregnancy if it was going to be like this. I wasn’t that strong.”

Despite the challenges, Stacey said she saw God’s grace, especially when she gave birth to a health baby girl.
“Throughout that time of being so scared, my mom and Jesse were by my side telling me that God had a plan and that He wouldn’t give me more than I could handle,” she said. “God was there through the most difficult times of feeling so helpless, He was there when I wasn’t sure I could handle the pain, and He was there when I held my beautiful baby girl for the first time. It was the greatest reward that one can receive and the most beautiful miracle.”

Jesse said his faith also helped him through the death of his brother, Lance Corporal Nicholas “Nic” Sovie, who was killed in a helicopter crash in 2006 while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps.

“I can still think back to that moment when we were notified of the crash and ultimately to the news that he was killed in the crash,” Jesse said. “I cannot begin to imagine trying to deal with, process or recover from that moment without the aid of my faith. Even in the midst of the darkest grief of loss, we could see God's light. We could feel His presence with us. Even in the saddest moment, we all knew and felt that we would see Nic again. Death has already been conquered.”

Jesse and his family were also comforted by knowing Nic had become closer to God in the months leading up to the crash.

“In his last months, Nic started going to church whenever he could,” Jesse said. “He would also listen to various church songs and hymns that he was used to hearing back home at his home parish. More than all that though, Nic grew within his own faith. He told my Mom that with each flight they made, he entrusted each one to God, knowing that God was in control and was present. Faith not only helped carry us through that challenging time of losing Nic, but it also helped draw my brother Nic closer to God before God ultimately decided to call him home.”

As they move through life and overcome challenges together, the Sovies say they do so with the help of God and acknowledging His graces.

“(Faith) helps put things in perspective and to help understand why things happen the way they do,” Stacey said. “I’m not saying that accidents or unfortunate events don’t happen but, believing in God and having faith that He has a bigger plan for us does make getting through the tough times a little bit easier to bear. It makes living life a little easier to manage – to have something solid to rely on, even though you can’t see it physically. The truth is though, is that you can see it. God is there in the simple things, the little miracles in life. My faith in God is confirmed and strengthened with the snuggle of a baby, the soothing sound of the water or the wind in the trees. If we could just slow down our lives to notice and to appreciate the tiniest details in our surroundings, we would realize that there is something much greater, something so great that only one’s faith can gain strength from it. My faith in God helps me every day – in the simplest of tasks and in the largest of struggles. He truly is my strength each day.”

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