Hand of God sent a loving life partner to student
Special for The Arizona Republic
Oct. 11, 2004
Joyce Coronel

Some believe in chance occurrences, but I believe it was the hand of God that reached down to earth some 20 years ago and allowed the meeting of two young college students destined to spend the rest of their lives together.

It was Jan. 17, 1984, and I was certain my dreams had just come true. That morning, I received a phone call informing me that I had been chosen for a prized internship with the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. Little did I realize that this particular winter day would always hold a special significance for me, but for an entirely different reason.

Arizona State University's Memorial Union was quiet that evening as I sat with a fellow student, Mike, and discussed the internship.

"Hey, there's Pipo," my friend exclaimed, pointing to a young man clearing dishes from a nearby table. "You have to meet this guy. He's a really nice student from Venezuela."

Pipo made his way to our table. Despite his cafeteria worker's attire, I couldn't help but notice his warm smile and kind eyes. After a brief introduction, he resumed his work and my friend and I finished our meal. I was so busy savoring the news about my summer internship that I didn't pause to wonder about this new acquaintance.

In fact, I never thought I'd see the engineering student again. After all, I was a political science/Latin American studies major and at such a large university, I figured the chances of us running in the same circles were practically nil.

A few days later, however, we bumped into each other in front of the library and struck up a conversation.

"How's your job at the M.U.?" I inquired, only to find out that he had worked there just one day - the day we'd met.

As it turned out, both of us were active at the All Saints Newman Center, the Catholic student center just off campus. We were involved in different ministries there and thus had never crossed paths, something that changed after we volunteered to work on a project there together.

We were each becoming fluent in a second language that year, he in English and I in Spanish, and we had fun correcting each other. After a series of study dates at the library, we discovered a mutual love of music and a profound commitment to our faith. A budding friendship quickly bloomed into a full-blown romance.

Thus began the relationship that led to a beautiful marriage and five young sons who share our life of joy. Our dreams really did come true that pivotal day in 1984.