On Sunday, June 5, at the end of the gathering of more than 30,000 United Scouts of France (a Catholic scouting movement) who came to Château de Chambord, an important cultural landmark, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the movement, a young man named Matthieu proposed to a young woman named Alexandra.
At 24 and 21 years old, the two scout leaders have chosen to walk together towards marriage to learn to love and serve together.
It was an unexpected proposal at a now mythical place. At the end of Pentecost Mass, at dusk, Matthieu knelt and proposed to Alexandra.
“I knew he wanted to propose to me, but he told me it would be in a place that would be symbolic for both of us,” the young woman told Aleteia.
Indeed, as they are respectively a troop leader in Versailles and a company leader at the parish of Saint Augustin in Paris, the event at Chambord was an obvious choice. “It was really the place that represented us the most and where we could show our desire to base our relationship on this rock and on the sense of service that drives us both.”
The two scout leaders recognize that they want to anchor their married life in the values of scouting. True to their promise, they’ve chosen to love each other by relying on God’s grace:
“When life catches up with us and the obstacles are there, these values [of scouting] will be there to help us face it all the same way we faced the storm, with hope and confidence. (…) I have confidence because I know God is there every moment.” (When she mentions the storm, she’s referring to a violent weather system that forced the scouts to leave their tents and take shelter.)
Their decision to get married is “a choice taken among three,” testifies Alexandra, referring to herself, her fiancé, and God.
Scouting and a sense of commitment
Alexandra explains that scouting has taught her not only to communicate and to be true to herself, but also to be committed.
“To my friends who ask me how I can want to make a lifelong commitment when I’m only 21, I answer that Matthieu is a choice. Of course I believe in love at first sight. But I believe that a relationship is first and foremost a choice. Marriage for me is saying to the other person, ‘I want to learn to love you,’ rather than saying, ‘I love you.’”
By learning to love each other, the engaged couple already have a sense of being drawn toward holiness. “Matthieu taught me to accept the other as he is, especially as a leader. When I joined the company, I had a clear picture of what a leader should be. Even if Matthieu doesn’t always behave the way I imagine, I’m learning to love him.”
Alexandra and Matthieu illustrate what Bishop Rougé mentioned in his homily right before their engagement: “Scouting, in the strength of the Spirit, is a school of commitment and service, a school of the consecration of our lives to God and to others.”