Tyler and Hannah Brown were married by the pastor, Fr. Dan Janasik, at St. Leonard Parish, Muskego, on Sept. 3, 2022. (Submitted photo)
Tyler and Hannah Brown, both 25, are a match made on mission — but in God’s time.
It all started in the summer of 2011. Tyler had just graduated from St. Leonard School and Hannah would be in eighth grade in the fall; they were among the 80 youth traveling to Providence, Rhode Island, for a weeklong mission trip.
They followed in the footsteps of Tyler’s sister and Hannah’s brothers, who had been on past trips offered every summer by St. Leonard since 2003, and had great things to say about the combination of service, worship and community.
Tyler and Hannah don’t remember if they crossed paths on that Catholic HEART Workcamp trip, but each had such a great experience that both continued going on the trips.
“I think some of the best feelings you can get as a human is helping others,” Tyler said. The gratitude expressed by the people helped is very powerful as well, he added.
Both Tyler and Hannah went on to attend Muskego High School, which has about 1,700 students, but they were simply “mission trip friends.” They think they first talked in 2013 during the trip to Roanoke, Virginia, but every summer at mission trip time, one or the other — or both — were dating other people.
As the years passed, their groups of friends — many of whom were on the mission trips — began to overlap more and more. Tyler and Hannah continued to keep in touch and cross paths, even as Tyler went on to the Milwaukee School of Engineering and Hannah attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
They transitioned to the role of adult chaperones for the mission trips, but it was not until the 2017 trip to Charleston, North Carolina — their sixth common mission trip — that they became a couple.
“We started dating on the bus ride home,” Tyler recalled. After two years of visiting every weekend while finishing school, both graduated in 2019 — Tyler in May in mechanical engineering and Hannah the following December in mathematics.
Tyler took a design engineer job with Milwaukee Tool in Brookfield and Hannah became a lender with Summit Credit Union in Muskego.
They began to talk about getting married and got engaged in July 2021.
It was important to them that their marriage was a sacrament and thus also a union with God, so they planned a wedding at St. Leonard. They had each joined as adults and their parents remained members there.
“We never even thought of doing it another way. I don’t know that I would feel it was fully official,” Hannah said. Tyler added that with a wedding outside the Church, “You’re married in the eyes of the state, not the Church.”
Tyler and Hannah had gotten to know Fr. Dan Janasik, pastor of St. Leonard for the past 10 years, when they were part of an effort to start a young adult group at St. Leonard. They also knew Fr. John Cella, O.F.M., a longtime St. Leonard help-out priest, for many years, so both priests were part of the wedding Mass.
Tyler and Hannah were married at St. Leonard on Sept. 3, 2022 — and it’s telling that of the 16 people in the wedding party including the bride and groom, 12 had been on at least one St. Leonard mission trip. The other four had not grown up in Muskego.
The couple found that their wedding Mass was a positive experience for their Catholic friends who do not practice their faith, as well as non-Catholic friends. “They had good things to say,” Tyler said.
They also were very grateful for the church’s technological capability to livestream the Mass for Tyler’s grandmother, who was not well enough to attend the ceremony, as well as for the recording that they’ve been able to enjoy since then.
Since their wedding, Tyler and Hannah have purchased a house in Muskego and enjoy caring for their black lab puppy, Vanta. They enjoy spending time with friends, and Tyler has a “hobby job” related to his family’s longtime interest in car racing.
The couple continues to be active in their faith and the St. Leonard community by attending Mass, often with their parents; planning to continue as mission trip chaperones; and helping with Confirmation retreats. They hope to have children someday and plan to send them to St. Leonard School or Christian Formation classes.
Hannah is thankful for the “feeling of peace all the time” that she attributes to her faith.
“Having that relationship with God allows me to have fruitful relationships with people,” she said.
“I’m very fortunate to have Hannah,” Tyler said. “Up to this point, I’ve been very blessed in my life, and I’m very, very grateful.”