Romance in the City

St John’s Summer Ball in Chicago

By Meghan Ferrara

Photos by William Benjamin

Ladies in flowing evening gowns and elegant, white gloves. Gentlemen in crisp tuxedos and sharp bowties. Couples waltzing across the dance floor to music played by a live orchestra.

No, this isn’t a nostalgic memory from a bygone era. It’s the scene of the St. John’s Ball recently hosted by St John Cantius Parish in Chicago. Regina Magazine recently sat down with a few of the attendees to discuss their experience and the desire for romance in today’s society.


“I think people in all times and places are seeking romance, but perhaps not in the way that you would think. Romance is not a thing confined to youth, or to those whom share an intimate relationship in marriage. It is an aching of the heart that seeks to find beauty and meaning in what otherwise can be mistaken as the monotony of daily life.” 

— — Rachel Bain

“It seems over time the culture has grown less and less romantic—there are more people who are single now than at any other point in history—so the opportunity to attend a Ball, this elegant event of a bygone era, was an incredible treat.”

 — —   Dana Bywalter


“The dance was a social one, meaning everyone was encouraged to dance with multiple partners throughout the night. Attendees had the opportunity to meet new people this way, and they were encouraged by members of the floor committee (denoted by white sashes for women and boutonnieres for men) which I was a part of.”

— —  Dana Byerwalter

“There were traditional partner dances like polka and waltz, along with group dances like the polonaise and Pass the Rose. At the start of the dance, there was even a brief etiquette lesson: men were instructed to escort women off the dance floor when each song had ended, which perhaps felt like the most chivalrous and romantic part of the dances.”

— —    Rachel Bain

“I think people universally are seeking happiness. St. Thomas Aquinas describes this type of happiness as beatitudo. We foolishly think that we can find it in a relationship, material goods, or, for some of us, a few hours at a dark and dingy nightclub. We are unsatisfied with these fleeting worldly pleasures, yet we repeat them, seeking more momentary pleasures but all the more unsatisfied.”

— —  Anna Murzydlo

“Our hearts seek romance that only the Creator of our hearts can satisfy. Romance is defined as mystery associated with love. God is beyond our fullest understanding and knowledge; He remains a mystery. (CCC 772) St. Paul calls the nuptial union of Christ and the Church “a great mystery.” Because she is united to Christ as to her bridegroom, she becomes a mystery in her turn.”

 — —  Anna Murzydlo

“The Ball is romantic because it is timeless and spans all age ranges from young to old. It allows those throughout various walks of life to learn from one another and present the best versions of themselves and thus inspire other people to be the best versions of themselves. This elevated experience renews their sense of dignity and the dignity of those around them.”

 — —  Rachel Bain

“In stark contrast to modern ‘romantic relationships’ that focus on using the other to fulfill selfish needs, the romance that our hearts truly desire is found in union with Christ, who sacrificially died for us, and human beings. Now isn’t that so romantic?”

— —  Anna Murzydlo

“St. John’s Ball is an evening that glorifies God through beauty, elegance, and community. The initiative of a gentleman requesting a dance, the grace and beauty of the waltz, the majestic music of the live orchestra, the joy of encounters with friends old and new, is like a scene from a beautifully written love story. The purpose of the evening was to honor our Catholic faith with grandeur and elegant dance, as such the evening was a romantic one. Catholic culture indeed!”           

— —  Anna Murzydlo


REGINA’s article about Saint Cantius Parish Setting The Standard


REGINA article from 2017 Shall We Dance

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