Once Upon a CC Summit

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For Daniela Madriz, what made the Catholic Creatives Summit in March 2017 so different from other “networking” events was how beautifully people’s lives aligned beyond just sharing a career or interest. She described the personality of a Catholic creative—the entrepreneurial spirit, the depth of character, the curiosity to discover God in beauty—and how unique it was to be around people who clicked with her, who “got” her.

Unbeknownst to Daniela, one of those people aligned so well that she’d get engaged to him less than a year later.

One for the Storybooks

The story of that Summit-initiated relationship has become a Catholic Creatives staple. Ringmaster Marcellino D’Ambrosio chatted with Daniela and her fiancé Alex Quintana about how their relationship unfolded. Over and over, they mentioned the serendipity of it all, the alignments and connections that seemed pre-ordained, and we thought you’d enjoy swooning over their story with us. If you want to watch the interview yourself, check it out rough and unedited below.

 

Reservations

Alex, ironically, wasn’t totally sold on going to the Summit at first. He was making a film in Austin, focused on his projects, and only had a few small connections with other Catholic Creatives in the Facebook group. Likewise, native Guatemalan Daniela was in the U.S. for about a month to develop her marketing and design work and visit her then-boyfriend, and though she loved being part of Catholic Creatives, she didn’t know if getting to the Summit was worth the hassle.

They both finally decided to go—Daniela, at the encouragement of said then-boyfriend, and Alex, mostly because he wanted to get more involved in the faith-art intersection. And it didn’t hurt that he had noticed (read: Facebook stalked) a cute girl from Guatemala who was going to the Summit as well.

 I don't wanna do long distanceee *cough*.... Guatemala's not THAT far

I don't wanna do long distanceee *cough*.... Guatemala's not THAT far

The Summit began properly, at a bar, and Alex found one of Daniela’s mutual friends to see if talking to her would mean he’d eventually get to talk to Daniela. Things didn’t go exactly as planned: Daniela saw her friend Corina talking to Alex and decided not to interrupt Corina’s conversation with a handsome Catholic guy. She even told Corina to date Alex, but Corina was on a dating fast at the time. In Daniela’s words, that was a “perfect misalignment.”

Alex took some more initiative and, throughout the conference, kept “winding up” in conversations with Daniela, where he learned that she was dating someone else and decided to simply foster their friendship. Their shared faith was a great jumping-off point; they admired each others’ talent and passion. At the end of the Summit, Daniela left to Tennessee to spend time with her boyfriend. Alex was somewhat disappointed that there couldn’t have been more, but figured whatever was supposed to happen would happen.

Unforseen Endings and Unexpected Beginnings

It took another misalignment before Alex and Daniela’s stories started to intertwine again. After only a few days of being together, Daniela and her boyfriend mutually and cordially ended their relationship, which left her with two weeks in the U.S. and nothing to do over Easter weekend. She posted on Facebook to see if anyone wanted to meet up while she was in the States, and after some short comments and messages from other friends, nothing was working out.

With true Catholic Creatives flair, Alex went out on a limb: he commented a long paragraph with a detailed itinerary for sightseeing in Austin (somewhere Daniela had always wanted to go), a visit to Schoenstatt shrine, hangouts with others who had been at the Summit, and plans for Triduum in Dallas—which is where Daniela would be flying out of at the end of her trip. Some quick messages back and forth, and she was off to hang out with Alex and his family and friends. Everything was aligning.

Said Alex, “She just arrived on my doorstep. It was kind of a miracle.” His family shamelessly initiated the conversation to see if she was still dating her previous boyfriend, and Alex took a leap of faith in revealing his feelings for her early on. Daniela found her feelings grow for him, too. He checked all the big boxes, of course—the shared worldview, the passion and spontaneity of a freelance life—and the little alignments delighted her all the more: his family’s enthusiasm, the fun they had together exploring Texas, and, admittedly, “his Latin last name.”

Daniela flew home with butterflies and, though worried her whirlwind trip would cause “a PR fiasco back home,” she knew that things had clicked in a way they never had before.

She was right. In February of 2018, Alex proposed to Daniela, surrounded by mountains and rose petals. They’ll be married in January, and are incredibly grateful for the way the Summit impacted their lives in multiple ways. Catholic Creatives has been instrumental for Daniela’s career in freelance design work. Being able to collaborate, learning from Creatives’ initiatives, getting to see people really invest in quality design: it’s motivated and encouraged her. Alex sees Catholic Creatives as “a sign of hope, of reaching people who need to be reached,” and credits a lot of his personal and professional growth to the relationships he built at the Summit.

 

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Obviously, this relationship is one for the books. We are thrilled for more serendipitous alignments and connections to emerge from the CC Summit on September 13-16, 2018!

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By Courtney Kiolbassa

Poet, Writer, and Love Story Aficionado.