Mother Teresa is a favorite saint for many young Catholics, myself included. She moved mountains with her quiet, steady, and loving presence. She answered a call that was extremely difficult, trusting in God even when she falt utterly abandoned and alone. And this great saint, a leader of service and love, a spiritual giant among mankind, started simple.
I grew up number three in a family of seven children. My parents met as students at Franciscan, married, and never left. I’ve always thought of myself as a ‘traditional Catholic”—no hand-raising, speaking in tongues, etc. All that was somewhat foreign, even though, as kids, we saw a great deal of charismatic worship on campus.
Standing in the middle of the hallway of Franciscan University’s academic building, Egan Hall, I found myself with eyes closed, hands folded, and praying with a complete stranger. Two of my household sisters were next to me, but I still couldn’t get past the fact that it was normal to pray in public with someone I didn’t know.
In casual conversations with friends at Franciscan, you’ll often hear stories about saints with crazy heroic virtue. Francis of Assisi threw himself into thorns at the first inkling of temptation. Teresa of Avila levitated during her deep conversations and unions with the Lord. Padre Pio, well, Padre Pio once woke up…
Whenever you enter a new environment or a new culture, it can take time to adjust. Thankfully, one of Franciscan University’s households helped me to navigate this time of adjustment.
A few days after my eleventh birthday, I was admitted to the hospital with a ruptured appendix. It felt like someone had spilled boiling soup all over my insides, and it landed me in the pediatric ward for more than three weeks.
Here at Franciscan University, we have a unique system called “Households.” Commonly explained as a “Catholic fraternity,” these small groups of men or women are united by more than just a banner, color, or t-shirt. Households are families.
Life is continuously changing. Human persons have a natural disposition to fight life’s changes. It always seems that just as we become settled and comfortable, life draws us out of our complacency and uproots us from all that we know, love and are familiar with. We scream and yell at life for doing this. We stubbornly resist with every fiber of our being even though we know that despite our best efforts life will change.
To some outsiders (mostly my mother, and probably most mothers) a men’s college dorm may appear to be a smelly, dirty, loud environment that someone should avoid if at all possible. But until you’ve lived in the dorm, you may not be able to fully grasp how that seemingly putrid smell is the smell of a…
For those of you who don’t know, I recently returned from a semester abroad in Gaming, Austria – Franciscan University’s study abroad program. I also blogged about it here if you are interested in reading more about that experience. To sum it up, it was the semester of a lifetime.