The Purgative Power of Two: Becoming a Catholic Coach Alongside of Your Spouse
July 25, 2022
By Albert and Elizabeth Saenz
It was the beginning of the pandemic.
The world had shut down, sacraments were scarce, and in the midst of all of this, we discerned a cross-country move from Pennsylvania (my home state) to Texas (Albert’s home state) to be closer to Albert’s aging parents.
This move, made with good intentions, wreaked absolute havoc on the emotional well-being of us both, but especially on me. Almost no access to the sacraments, combined with leaving my parents and siblings over 1,500 miles behind was suddenly compounded by morning sickness: Baby #4 was on the way.
In the midst of this, I discovered the “Made for Greatness” podcast with Sterling Jaquith (who Albert cannot RESIST calling “Sterling Silver”), and voila! I was introduced to life coaching. For the first time, I learned the Model: I could actually choose my own thoughts (!!) instead of being a victim of my circumstances. Then Albert, attempting to pick up the pieces of his wife’s shattered emotions, surprised me by signing me up for a course he stumbled across on Facebook: namely, the Art of Being a Woman, with strategist Leah Darrow.
Between Sterling and Leah, I started to find hope.
The more hope I found, the more I wanted to share life coaching with others..but only in an authentically Catholic way. I emailed Leah, asking for input on coaching women, and she offered to schedule a Zoom meeting. As soon as that call was scheduled, Albert and I both felt something BIG looming on the horizon. We didn’t know what it was, but we were excited.
The day of the Zoom meeting arrived. I’m a chronic migraine sufferer, and minutes before the meeting began, a bad migraine abruptly hit. Albert suggested rescheduling, but I’d been waiting nearly two months for this call, so I rebelled. “No! Leah’s going to say something life-changing and I need to hear it!”
I got on the call. As we talked, beads of sweat started forming on my arms. My hands were shaking, and the notes I was taking became more and more illegible. I kept telling myself to tell Leah I needed to go, but I was positive she was going to say something magical… something God wanted me to hear. So I held on. And after a good 30-40 minutes of talking, it came, “You should check out Metanoia Catholic.” A wave of conviction washed over me: the Holy Spirit had come through in a big way. I immediately “confessed” how sick I was, and we ended our conversation.
This all happened in October 2021. With Albert’s encouragement, I reached out to Erin to talk about Purgative Way, and shortly afterwards, Albert expressed interest in becoming a life coach with me (though he was considering taking a different route to get there). As the time to sign up for the Purgative Way approached, we discussed using part of our tax refund to sign me up. But the tax refund came in, and life came right along with it. Almost immediately, it was delegated out to other necessary expenses. The door to the Purgative Way Spring 2022 seemed to close. That was okay… there would be other chances.
March 18th came. We were driving home from church and my phone went off. It was an email from Matt and Erin, announcing the final hours to sign up for the Purgative Way. “Consider where you want to be 4 months from tonight,” they prompted. And here’s the crazy thing. Just the day before, Albert had received a completely unexpected bonus… and it was almost exactly what we would need to join Purgative Way as a couple.
At first, I wasn’t going to say anything. We’d already decided to spend that money on house projects, and Albert had his own plans in regards to coaching. But apparently he can read my mind (thanks, Holy Spirit!) because out of nowhere he started talking about the Purgative Way, questioning if we’d made the right choice to pause on the process for me. I took that as an invitation and pulled up the email I’d just received to read it out loud. Then we started talking about him joining me. And by 10:40pm, just four hours and twenty minutes after receiving the email, we were officially signed up for the Purgative Way.
While we wouldn’t want to live over the hard moments again, we’re so aware now how the Holy Spirit has been orchestrating this journey for us. Albert and I have always been a particularly close couple, but mindset coaching is teaching us to communicate and understand each other at a level we didn’t even know existed. It’s encouraging our interior lives and inspiring new dreams for the future as we discern our path to sharing these truths with others.
The moral of our story can best be summed up by a quote from Bishop Barron. “When you have the Holy Spirit in your life, you are not in control. You cannot command the Spirit to come. You have to wait for him and pray for him…. And once he arrives, you have to be ready to move according to his prompting.”
About the Author
About the Author
Albert and Elizabeth Saenz met at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in 2011, while he was working as a Video Specialist for Creative Services and she was an Administrative Assistant for Evangelization and Catechesis. They were married in 2013, and – after many plot twists – have found themselves living in South Texas. Albert is an employee of the Society of G.K. Chesterton, and Elizabeth is a stay-at-home mom to their four beautiful (if somewhat volatile) children, ages 6 to 1. When they are not wrangling kids, the couple is pursuing their journey to become Catholic coaches, walking through each door as God opens it and seeing where He intends to lead them. Prayers would be appreciated!