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The shortest distance between people is a story. Let's share our stories and close the distance.

Updated: Jun 4, 2021

We are called to be more than mere acquaintances. Jesus invites us to be His friends, and through His friendship, one body in Him. In sharing our stories with you, our hope is that you will share yours too. What a great time to get to know one another, sharing our challenges and victories. When we meet again in person, it will be a meeting of great friends.

INTRODUCING PATRICK SCHILLER: A familiar face to many is our enthusiastic, well-spoken MC. Read his interview below.

Patrick has been on the Board of Catholic Family Ministries for a number of years and brings his joyful energy as well as thoughtful input to this ministry.

"I am a genuine and compassionate person and I care deeply about the people I serve, through my work with individuals, couples, and families, and through this ministry - both of which I am super passionate about."

INTERVIEW What inspired you be involved in CFM? ​As a teen I loved the experience of the conference and of feeling a sense of belonging and community with my friends and family at the conference. I have to admit I was more interested in playing football and ultimate frisbee between sessions than I was in listening to the talks...but that eventually changed as my faith and interest developed. When I turned 18, I felt a desire to take on some responsibility and involvement with a ministry that was so important to my life. So I asked what I could do to help!

How long have you been on the Board? ​Ever since! Initially I took on the role of coordinating the different Catholic vendors for the conference. As time went on I began to help in other areas and eventually I began to nervously take on the role of MC for the family life conference. It took a while but eventually I became semi-competent at this role and my fellow board members have trusted me with it since then.

How long have you been married? I met my beautiful wife Stacey in high school in 2004. We were both involved in the youth program at Holy Family Parish in St. Albert and held hands for the first time on a Mike Landry led trip out to "rock the mount" at the shrine to Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Saskatchewan. We've been madly in love ever since!

As time passed in your marriage and you were hoping and praying for children, what was the process for both of you through that period, particularly in the context of attending the Annual FLC and seeing so many prolific families in attendance? ​Stacey and I never imagined that our married life would be marked by the pain of infertility. We both envisioned raising a family as the 'next step' in our love for each other. However, in spite of our desire to be parents the journey to family life led us through the incredible pain of infertility. I think it is important to acknowledge that this suffering is both more common than we might know, and more painful than most of us imagine. This is particularly poignant in a Catholic community of big families open to life and living the joys and struggles of Catholicism. Unfortunately we were completely unprepared for the suffering of participating in a community of faith in which we felt like strangers. As a result we deeply empathize with Catholic people who experience loneliness due to infertility, isolation, and feeling outside the experience of what is perceived as 'normal'. Our path took time and suffering and grace which eventually led us to the beautiful world of domestic open adoption.

Our daughter, Kiara, is the answer to our prayers and the prayers of so many loving and supportive friends and family. Open adoption is beautiful and challenging at the same time. The courage and bravery of our birth mom, Larissa, to make an adoption plan and to lovingly place her daughter with Stacey and I is beyond my ability to describe. We are so grateful to be Kiara's parents, and to be able to nurture a relationship with her birth family. To Stacey and I, open adoption is truly a demonstration of what it means to be pro-life. Birth Moms are incredible human beings and open adoption is such a gift of God's Grace for Stacey and I. To all those who read this who are suffering the pain of infertility, please know you are in our prayers and you are not alone. To those feeling alienated within the Catholic community, our prayers are with you as well.

Currently I am operating a solo private practice as a psychologist in St. Albert. It is a blessing for me to serve those struggling with wounds of mental illness and I am grateful for this role. Stacey has stepped away from her role as a Catholic school teacher and is busy with the daily activities of being a mom to our beautiful daughter, Kiara. We can't wait to see you all very soon at the Family Life Conference and the Men's and Women's Conferences. Glory to Jesus Christ! ​ Patrick

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Beautiful testimony, so poignant, open, and heart-felt. Thank you. You do a great job as MC at the men's conferences. Your presence there gives the event a comfortable consistency. Blessings always, --gary giffin, Hinton

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