Kylie McGovern, Managing Editor
Merriam-Webster defines a soulmate as a person who is perfectly suited to another in temperament. In my time at La Salle, I had heard the term “La Soulmates” thrown around. A ‘La Soulmate’ is a person perfectly suited for another person who they met here at 20th and Olney. In hearing this term I realized that I already knew two La Soulmates: my parents.
My parents met while working right here on campus at Germantown Hospital in the 90s. My mom was in nursing school and my dad was on the men’s rowing team and studied biology. My dad graduated in 1993 and he and my mom have created a life right outside of Philadelphia for the past thirty years. They got married in 1999 and I came along in 2001. My two sisters were born in 2003 and 2005. La Salle remained a special place for my parents as they reconnected with friends from La Salle over the years. But, in 2020 when I chose to come to my parents’ alma mater and my sister followed this past year La Salle became an even more centric part of our lives.
In talking to friends here at La Salle, my parents’ La Soulmate story is special, but not unique. Many of my friends here have siblings or parents who are also La Soulmates. As a semester-long project here at the La Salle Collegian, I was lucky enough to connect with La Soulmates. These La Soulmates have various stories for how they met each other ranging from class to Greek life, to mutual friends, but one aspect that seems to be a player in all of these stories is the tight-knit community. Without further adieu, here are some stories from La Soulmates I connected with:
Crista Bernardino explains that she and her husband Brad met at La Salle in 2010 when he was a freshman rushing Alpha Phi Delta and she was a junior in Gamma Phi Beta. The two were paired together at a social event and ran into one another a few months later at Finnegan’s Wake and have been together ever since. Today, the two have been married for over 6 years and have a son and daughter.
Justine Amorose and Sean Ford have a similar Greek love story. The two met in the fall of their freshman year while Justine studied nursing and was a member of Alpha Theta Alpha and Sean a member of Alpha Pi Delta. The two graduated in May 2021 and have been together for nearly five years.
Other La Soulmates met through student organizations like Amanda Hicken and her husband Scott who met through the Masque. The two were friends for several years and then started dating Scott’s senior year. The two earned the Masque’s first ‘It’s About F*ing Time’ award at that year’s formal. Amanda and Scott have been married since 2009 and now live in Cleveland, Ohio with their daughter Amelia.
Johanna Szyszkiewicz met her fiance Joe while Joe was in the four-year MBA program and she was in the nursing program. The two met very briefly at a social for the Ambassadors but had a more official introduction at a Rugby social a few weeks later. The two love to enjoy the Eagles together today in between Johanna’s nursing shifts.
The classroom here at La Salle brought other La Soulmates like Mary and Brad Himmelstein who met in statistics class, but also connected through peer educators and work-study. It’s a small school, right? The Himmelsteins’ got engaged their senior year and will celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary this year.
Kaitlyn (Petruccelli) Murphy and James Murphy met in the classroom like the Himmelstein. The two shared their classes together freshman year as biology majors in the same Honors Triple. Kaitlyn explained that “after everyone did poorly on our first history test with Dr. Stowe, Jimmy showed up at my dorm room with another classmate, looking to study with me. We subsequently formed a study group with four other bio majors in the Honors Program – we all studied together through four years at La Salle, including MCAT prep.” Jimmy and Kaitlyn stayed friends and study buddies until their junior year when they took physics when we started spending more time together. The two started dating at the end of that year. La Salle remains a role in the couple’s life recently as Br. Michael McGuinness attended their wedding last year and gave a homily at their nuptial mass. The two explained how Lasallian values shape their lives today in their careers in medicine. The two welcomed a baby boy this past summer.
For some couples like Christina Potter and Marcus Jackson, La Salle strengthens their relationship from a pre-existing one. The two met at West Catholic High School, in senior year, a month before either told the other they were going to La Salle. They both ended up going to La Salle, where they stayed together all four years and are now married! The two said that “La Salle definitely helped us to grow and ‘explore’ our relationship!”
Chris and Melanie Idler both graduated in 1993. Melanie remembers seeing Chris in her freshman orientation in the summer before school started and was definitely hoping to run into him freshman year. But, Chris told me a story about how he remembered meeting Melanie saying “she was wearing two different color shoes, which I thought was a little odd, but it caught my eye.” The two disconnected for a while after school, but both were in Philly the same weekend without knowing it. Melanie ran into a friend from La Salle on the banks of the Schuylkill River that weekend who mentioned he was having a party that evening. Melanie and her friends ended up turning up at that friend’s house in Manayunk, where Chris happened to be. Today, Lasallian values play a part in the Idlers’ lives as they send their two daughters to a Christian Brothers high school in Washington, D.C. (St. John’s College High School) , one of which applied to La Salle for the class of 2027.
Although these are just a few stories of La Soulmates, these love stories are a testament to the community and friendship that exists on campus. Personally, my life would be different without La Salle literally because my parents met here, but also emotionally because of the community this campus sows. I would like to extend my gratitude to all of the La Soulmates who reached out, even those who were not included. In addition, thank you to Cherylyn Rush and Brother Michael who helped connect me to the La Soulmates.
One thought on “What’s A La Soulmate?”
Lovely story; well-written; and a great example of La Salle’s community life and long-lasting relationships and friendships it inspires.