The Choice: Love or Religion?

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – This is a love story, but, a unique kind of love story. A priest and a nun meet in a Buffalo Catholic church. And they’ve taken vows to be celibate. But they say they quickly learned it was “Gods Will” they were meant to be together.

Father Fank Endres,  and Sister Mary Ann Rosar met more then 40 years ago.

Endres said, “The nuns came back from summer vacation but there was a new member among them.”

They both say they felt a spark immediately.

Mary Ann Endres said, “Here I am a nun and I think this shouldn’t be happening, but he was pretty handsome.”

Growing up, they were taught to suppress all romantic feelings. But working together, they grew close. Seeing each other day in and day out proved too hard.

Frank Endres said, “I felt we were getting too close. And I thought, this is distracting.”

Mary Ann said, “I’m really becoming distracted, I wanted to be a nun and it’s something inside me that says maybe there’s a change in my life.”

Frank and Mary Ann transferred to separate churches. They decided they wouldn’t be in contact for two years.

“It was difficult. It was a challenge. But I figured my vocation at the time was to be a nun and I really wanted to give it all I had. But on the other hand, it was lonely.”

For the first time, that loneliness of celibacy became real for both of them.

Frank Endres said, “There was a mood that I had never experienced before. Even though I was busy and everything else. It is not good for man to be alone.”

Endres says he felt anger. He said, “I thought, what can I do? I can’t live this way.”

So after two years, there was a decision and a phone call. Frank Endres called Mary Ann and told her he was leaving the Ministry. Mary Ann had coincidentally made that same decision.

A short time later, at Mass in 1970, Endres proposed. Mary Ann Endres said, “I couldn’t ask for a better person to marry really.”

But leaving this life wasn’t easy.

Mary Ann Endres said, “When it was time to leave, it was rather a shock to my family and the Church. It was difficult.”

The couple went to the bishop and sent a request to Rome so they could get married in a Catholic church. Then one week before their wedding, they got word the ceremony wasn’t happening.

Mary Ann Endres said, “We were told we couldn’t get married and we had a right to get married through the church.”

This was because they had made their ceremony, and their marriage, public. They had invited family and friends to attend.

So in a private ceremony, just weeks later, they became Frank and Mary Ann Endres.

Mary Ann Endres said, “I would have never thought after being a nun for ten years, meeting somebody who was religious, like my life was. And the happiness that evolved in spite of all the disappointments. It just made us stronger people.”

Now the couple is fighting for the “Married Priests” movement. This is the right for priests to marry and still practice in the church.

They say they’re fighting for the right to do what they love, while being in love.

The couple wants to petition the Catholic church to change the holy laws so that Priests and Nuns are allowed to marry and have families. They say the number of people who want to be Priests or Nuns around the world is rapidly declining.

They say that’s  largely because most people don’t want to be celibate. Endres said there a couple hundred married Priests in just the Western New York area alone. They are organized, and they have their own international community. All of them are on this crusade.

This couple is featured in a documentary called “Let My Priest Go” and it’s by local Filmmaker Brenda Turteltaub. Her company, “A Special Story” produces professionally created documentary and videos. If you would like to contact Brenda or her company, you can visit her website here. 

You can also view the documentary in its entirety at this link here.  

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