Like many seniors, I have found myself reminiscing and reflecting more and more as my time at Franciscan comes to a close. Although there is a lot to remember and find joy in – Austria memories, fall breaks, dances, etc. – one thing that my mind keeps going back to is my household, Theotokos. I joined the household as a sophomore coming back from Austria, and it has been such a stable source of prayer, love, and sisterhood for me here. I’ve gotten to know so many girls, said goodbye to sisters as they graduate, and welcomed new sisters who intent over the years. I remember when the household had 7 girls, and have watched it grow to 40 girls. Amidst all the change, one thing has remained constant: the covenant that binds us together. The focus on Jesus and the Cross, the dedication to Mary, and the common goal of bearing Christ to others through our actions is the reason the household is so vibrant and beautiful. Each sister is unique and has her own spirituality, her own way in which she encourages and inspires others. That’s what is so amazing to me – that the girls come and go, graduate and the new ones intent, but the covenant remains. The more I give myself over to Christ, the more I end up receiving from him through this household.
My semester with Theotokos has been so spiritual and profound, but it has also been a complete and utter BLAST. I have had the most fun doing the most random things with these girls, and some of my greatest memories from college come from this semester with household! From the Harlem Shake in the library, to late night slushies at Sheetz, to dumping milk on our heads to make a friend laugh, to dancing in Pittsburgh… it doesn’t matter where we are – we always end up laughing too hard and having way too much fun! One of our sisters is a semi-pro paint-baller, and she took us all paint-balling last weekend. Words simply cannot describe the hilarity and craziness that ensued. We all put on masks, lots of layers, and loaded the rifles. Most of us had no idea what we were doing, but learned quickly enough, and had a fantastic Saturday running around trees, obstacles, and fortresses trying to beat the other team. At the end of the day, my face hurt from smiling so much! The next week we compared our welts with each other, agreeing that they looked cool and made us look tough, and were worth the pain! We all lobbied to make paint-balling a weekly commitment, but unfortunately our budget didn’t allow it. Ha!
The fun, camaraderie, and spirituality that household enables me to experience is something I will always remember and cherish. It is so special that the same group you paint-balled with one afternoon is there to receive the Eucharist with you the next morning. The same friends who encourage you to go to confession will paint their faces and wear red-white-and-blue overalls to the “Amurica” dance the next night. I can have just as much fun hanging out with my freshman sisters as I can with my senior friends whom I’ve known for four years. Beneath it all is the covenant that holds us all together. Our desire to grow in holiness, our commitment to help each other carry our crosses, and our desire to imitate Mary, the Mother of God, in all instances. I feel so blessed and thankful to be part of such a holy, hilarious, and special household.
“Jesus, seeing the reflection of His Beloved Mother in us, will bless us abundantly and keep us in a special place in His Divine and Sacred Heart” – Theotokos Covenant