Originally created 07/12/97

Reconciling helped woman heal



Sue Seklecki and her husband, Roger, had their 3-year-old marriage blessed at the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in December of 1980, about a year after her first marriage was annulled.

"The (annulment) process brought on a lot of healing in having to go back and rehash all those things," she said. "It causes you to face the reality of that portion of your life instead of leaving it in a fairy tale sort of state."

Raised a Baptist in Greenville, S.C., she had married her childhood sweetheart, also a Baptist, in 1968. After 18 months they moved to Augusta for him to attend medical school.

"At the time of graduation, he wanted to go his way with a nurse he had met in Colorado, and I was facing a very surprise divorce," said Ms. Seklecki.

There were no children. The divorce was granted in 1973.

She stayed in Augusta and worked as a patient representative at University Hospital, where she met her second husband, Roger, a Catholic.

"Roger never once asked me to become Catholic, and it was the best thing because it gave me a chance to come in on my own," she said.

They married in 1976 at Trinity-on-the-Hill United Methodist Church but went to both Catholic and Protestant churches every Sunday.

"It was after a sermon on abortion that I realized that I wanted to be Catholic," said Ms. Seklecki, now a mother of eight.

She applied for an annulment of her first marriage in 1977. There were questions about her life, the names of people who knew her and her first husband at the time of the wedding and their emotional maturity. "You have a sense of relief of just getting through it, especially if you don't like paperwork," she said.

She remembered a lot of delays with the process and then additional frustrations waiting for witnesses to respond. "They were mostly Protestants who had no clue what was going on," she said. But she was intent on becoming a full-fledged Catholic.

About two years after filing, the annulment was official.

The next year she studied Catholicism. On the day her marriage was blessed, she also entered the Catholic Church and received the sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation.