In the Beginning, They Both Took Freshman Theology

Dr. Bridget Catherine Dowd and Dr. Samuel Joseph Kiernan were married May 4 at the Church of the Nativity in Fair Haven, N.J. The Rev. James J. Grogan, a Roman Catholic priest, performed the ceremony.

The couple met at Georgetown, from which each graduated cum laude.

The bride, 31, who is taking her husband’s name, is a fellow in pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. In July, she is to begin an advanced clinical and research fellowship in nutrition at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She received a medical degree from Pennsylvania State College of Medicine.

She is the daughter of Susan Clark Dowd and Charles J. Dowd of Fair Haven, N.J.

The groom, 32, is a resident in orthopedic surgery at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. He completed his premedical post-baccalaureate program at Columbia, and received a medical degree from Albert Einstein School of Medicine.

He is a son of Lisa Edmondson Kiernan and John S. Kiernan of Pelham, N.Y.

The groom is a paternal great-great-great-grandson of Thomas F. Gilroy, the mayor of New York City from 1893 to 1894.

Dr. Kiernan couldn’t help but notice Dr. Dowd in 2005, the first day of their small freshman theology class, as soon as their professor, the Rev. Thomas King, called her name during roll call that day.

“She was this beautiful, adorable Georgetown girl I wanted to know better,’’ Dr. Kiernan said. But was too shy to act on it, and was then especially discouraged after he heard that she was dating a sophomore.

Instead of dating, he put his energies into singing bass-baritone for Superfood, a coed a cappella group on campus.

“I definitely also noticed him right off the bat,” Dr. Dowd said. “I thought he was really handsome, blond, tall and smart,”

But during college they went their separate ways while he studied English and music, and she was pre-med.

In August 2012, during her last year of medical school, it both surprised and intrigued her when she noticed a photo of him on Facebook wearing a short white coat typically worn by first-year medical students.

“I had been thinking of him for a while,’’ said Dr. Dowd, who was not dating anyone at that time. While scouting out East Coast hospitals for her residency, she decided to get in touch with him.

She sent a Facebook message from Miami on the pretext of asking him about New York hospitals.

He was surprised when he got the message at 12:21 a.m. while studying for finals at the Albert Einstein library.

“It was funny she was asking me all these questions,” he said.

He soon pushed his books aside and gave his full attention to Facebook while the crowd thinned out at the library. Eventually, the topic shifted from medicine to romance.

“Are you dating anyone,’’ she recalled asking him, to which he responded, “No, just my mistress Anatomy Lab. How about you?’”

She made it clear she was unattached, and after exchanging numbers they also texted the next evening until 5 a.m., followed by hundreds of messages and texts.

“We equally raised the idea that we should meet up,’’ he said, and after he returned from a family ski trip in Whistler in Vancouver, British Columbia, they did at her friend Lindsey Hall’s New Year’s Eve party in Manhattan.

“In person she was even more cute and adorable,’’ he said. “It was confirmation of everything I remembered and thought about. All that flooded together.”

They had their first kiss at midnight. They began dating, and the second Friday in March, she matched for pediatric residency at the NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan.

“I was so thrilled going to my top choice residency and being in the same city as Sam,’’ she said.

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