Fr. Michael Scanlan became the President of Franciscan University in 1974. One of his biggest worries upon arrival was the pervasive attitude of isolation and loneliness that existed amongst the student body. There were few positives around which the student body could grow in communion with each other. Anyone who has this type of intense isolation knows that it is the work of the evil one. He always seeks to cut us off from those around us. His strategy is to convince us that we are the only ones walking the path of faith and that there is nobody to lean on for support. You might as well lie down and surrender because there’s no one to help you and you definitely can’t help yourself. Once Satan plants that idea in a soul, it’s hard to shake. Thus, Fr. Mike instituted households to offer a defense and then a counterattack against the full on assault being thrown against the students at the time. Looking around campus today, I would say that Fr. Mike’s strategy was a success. In fact, he would say that households are the reason for the university becoming the dynamically Catholic institution it is today.
This past weekend, my household brothers and I inducted two new members into our household, the Fishers of Men. At times like that, I am always struck by the great blessing it is to have households play such an influential role on this campus. It is the households that help to foster the student body’s love and desire for the Father. They almost function as scaffolding for the students’ climb to the heart of God. The great part is that the households help their members to grow in holiness and do it joyfully. Some people might think that households demand their members to pray twenty rosaries balanced on one knee on concrete every day. That’s just not the case. We know how to have a good time as we make our way down the walk of faith. I feel like every household, no matter their covenant, has that spirit of St. Francis infused in them, and it is seen in their joy and love for this life that has been given.