When Georgiana Pinwill realised her parents would never play matchmaker, she took finding her future husband into her own hands.
The Australian actress, based in south-west Queensland, has tried online dating, expanding her social media network, and is even going to apply for Farmer Wants a Wife.
Some of Ms Pinwill’s experiences have turned into a few interesting dates.
“I have actually had an online date before years and years ago, just because we were both interstate …we just found a way of watching the same movie at the same time while being on a phone call and eating our separate meals,” Ms Pinwill said.
Unfortunately, Ms Pinwill has not found her match, so now the 36-year-old has turned to a more traditional method to find a spouse – a Sydney-based matchmaker for single Catholics.
Ms Pinwill is one of about 100 people who have expressed an interest in finding a spouse through Together at Last, a new service run by a Catholic married mum from New South Wales.
Ms Pinwill said she had been interested in the concept after watching an episode of SBS Insight on modern matchmakers.
“I remember thinking then that we really need some Catholic matchmakers,” she said.
Catholics who sign up for Together at Last receive a questionnaire followed by a personal phone call from Philomena Mary, the founder, who then personally – without an algorithm or a machine – does the difficult task of creating a potential match.
The service was inspired by an Australian Jewish matchmaking service and CatholicYenta, a website based in the United States, as well as the popular reality TV show Millionaire Matchmaker.
Applicants are given opportunities to discuss their preferences for a spouse, potential pitfalls or deal-breakers while dating, as well as other factors for marriage compatibility.
Matched couples will be sent off on a date to get to know each other better without matchmaker Philomena.
So far there are plans to organise virtual Zoom dates for interstate matches, while matched applicants from the same state could meet in person if they felt it was a safe option.
One-on-one dates and small events are also being planned once the pandemic eases.
Philomena said the interest for a matchmaking service was growing due to the coronavirus, possibly because the isolation and increased free time was highlighting people’s singleness more than before.
“There’s more reflection time, there’s more social isolation, so people are asking, ‘Do I want this for the rest of my life? What do I want to do?’” she said.
While the coronavirus is making meeting people harder, Philomena said young adult Catholics, particularly those over 30, were already finding it difficult to meet other people of faith.
She believes her matchmaking service could be a hopeful answer.
“Once you pass a certain age in the Catholic scene you don’t fit the brackets anymore of a lot of events,” Philomena said.
“Once people get into the mid to late 20s and early 30s there’s just limited things happening in the Church for them to meet other like-minded people.”
Formation for young adults is excellent, but the practical realities of meeting other Catholics are letting young adults down.
Matchmaking might just be the cause of the next baby boom in the Catholic Church.
“People are very informed, but it’s also the practical side that we need to work on as a church,” Philomena said.
“So you can give heaps of education and formation, but we also need to look at the logistics of making it (marriages) happen.”
By Emilie Ng. Reproduced with permission from The Catholic Leader, the online news publication of the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.