When I first saw the rendering of Ave Maria town and the Oratory I thought that this is a place we would like to live. The town to be was just in the talking stages along with a new Catholic University. With each meeting that was held and with every new rendering, for both the university and town, I just knew that we had to live there someday. I was familiar with the farmlands east of Naples because we’ve lived in Naples since 1979. I had always said “who would want to live so far from Naples?” Back in 1979, certainly it wasn’t us.
I came out for the Ave Maria University groundbreaking in February 2006. Again seeing the renderings and model of the Oratory it was hard to imagine this place would someday look like that. When Ave Maria had the first models ready for the public to view, we were out there again. It was exactly as we had expected from seeing the renderings. It was beautiful. The fact I would have to commute back to Naples everyday to work was a stumbling block. So with a very heavy heart we realistically said this new town would have to wait for our retirement years.
We attending many of the events at Ave for the next couple of year. We were there for the March 25th unveiling of the sculpture on the Oratory and said, we wished we were already living at Ave. Now Ave Maria had a Publix, the 2 lane roads were being widened which would make the commute easier to Naples/Ft.Myers. This waiting to move there was getting harder with each trip we made to Ave.
While on the internet I went to the Ave Maria website and saw that they had a newspaper, the Ave Herald. I was curious so I went to that link and was delighted to see all the “inside” information about the town. I checked out the classifieds for homes for sale and that is when “it” happened.
I found the home of our dreams. We had wanted a DiVosta Oakmont with a pool that faced East ever since we saw a model back in 1999 in Naples at the Village Walk. The Ave ad was a for sale by owner and I immediately emailed the owner to ask if it was still on the market. It was! Okay, now the obstacles that would have to be overcome would take a miracle. I prayed if we were meant to have this house we would need help getting it.
A dear friend sent me a book in the mail the next day. Funny that it would come then since she’d never done that before. I understood when I saw the cover that my friend, Sandy Tobin was the author. It’s title “Our Lady’s Guide to Holiness” A simple plan for living the messages of Medjugorje. I never went to Medjugorje but had the opportunity to meet Vicka one of the visionaries through this friend who sent me the book. I opened the book to a page about St. Bridget. Not remembering anything about her I started to read the page. After the first page I them remembered she was the saint responsible for the 15 Promises. What I didn’t remember was WHY?
I read that St. Bridget asked Jesus how many times he was struck during the Passion. It was like I was hit by a lightning bolt. I started to sob. Jesus said he was struck 5480 times. I knew at that moment that the Blessed Mother was sending me a sign that we should buy the house at Ave Maria, because 5480 was the address of the house that was for sale. If you have goose bumps you aren’t alone. I’ve repeated this to everyone I know and they all say the same thing. It was divine intervention that touched me that day.
We are meant to live the rest of our lives here in this beautiful town, with the wonderful students from the new University, the loving families who are also pioneers in this new beautiful place surrounded by 17,000 acres of conservation land. All the wildlife are enjoying their land with all of the 2 legged friends who share this gorgeous space with them. We love Ave Maria for the unbelievable sunrises and sunsets; the close knit community families, couples and singles who share the same Christian values that we do. You’ll never meet a stranger here, but you will find many new friends. We are still growing at Ave and I feel that even when we are all built out, Ave will always have that small town charm. Ave Maria is a slice of Paradise. It’s the next best thing to heaven.
Submitted by Sue Maturo