I’m a part of the Disciples of the Word household here on campus, and I must say that being a part of it has been one of the biggest gifts I have been blessed with while studying here at Franciscan.
Households are groups of men or women who join together and make certain commitments to one another, including common prayer times, Mass together, a charitable activity, and a commitment to be there for one another no matter what—homework help, relationship problems, family problems, anything, in a fraternal commitment to one another.
“Fraternal” comes from the Latin word for “brother” so in a sense, yes, we have some resemblance of a fraternity: we have a brotherhood. There is, however, a stigma around that word “fraternity” when it comes to college campuses… it frequently is associated with behaviors that don’t build up the person.
My household, like all here at Franciscan, is a brotherhood, but the very core of it is a love for Jesus Christ. We strive to build each other up as we walk towards our ultimate goal of heaven. We are frequently together, and we laugh, talk, pray, dance, cry, wrestle… we are a bunch of relatively simple guys just wanting to know Christ and His Mother more intimately. We recognize that Christ didn’t walk alone–he had twelve! Why would we walk alone? We come together to encourage each other to avoid things that keep us from being who we really are (sin) and to be there to help each other get up when we do mess up.
The Disciples of the Word have a deep love for Scripture and strive to uphold four pillars which are the basis of our household: purity, chastity, humility, and evangelization. When someone asks to join our household, they become an “intent” and then they go through an “intentship” process. The intent picks one of the members of household to be their mentor (or “big brother”) and their intentship begins. The whole intent process thing varies from household to household, some do it in groups and some do it individually (like the Disciples), but at the heart of it is a lot of prayer and essentially discussing virtue with each other. And although in the Disciples’ case there’s a “big” brother and a “little” brother, the reality is that you’re both brothers, one isn’t “higher” than the other… you’re striving for holiness together and you hold each other to it. The biggest thing that the big brother does is share with the new guy what the household strives for at its core. Once the intent gets “in” household, all the other brothers join them in that pursuit. It’s awesome. It’s beautiful. And being a part of it has changed my life.
I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the Disciples. I’m a senior, so I’m trying to give back as much as I can before I graduate. This past week, two new Disciples joined us: Mason and Rob. I had the privilege of being a big brother to Mason, though, as you can see in the picture, so much for him being my “little” brother! In all seriousness though, the Disciples just gained two incredible men and I’m really proud of them both. It’s good to have them in!
My name is Matt Stewart and I’m a chemistry student. I’m excited to be a student blogger representing the sciences at Franciscan University of Steubenville for this next academic year. Franciscan has provided some pretty incredible opportunities for me the past couple years. I am excited to see what God does with our work, and I look forward to sharing more and keeping you updated.