Posted by Paula, UST freshman, Catholic Studies and Education
Where can you go at UST and find open doors, fresh baked cookies in the hall, and a Blessed Virgin statue in the bathroom? Not many places, that’s for sure, but you can find all these things and more at 6-North Dowling Hall…the Catholic Women’s Floor! (And how we got the statue is quite an interesting story…if you come live here next year I’ll tell you!)
Life on the Catholic Women’s floor is absolutely wonderful. One of my greatest fears about coming to college was the people I would live with. Would they accept me? Would they share my faith and values? But the moment I set foot on the Catholic Women’s floor way back in September, I was immersed in a fun-loving community of other zealous Catholics who would accept me for who I am and share many beliefs I have. We just got a new member this spring semester, and after meeting her we immediately made her a very colorful and highly energetic “Welcome” sign for her door. This is just one example of the hospitality of this floor community.
In fact one of the best parts of the CWF is the community feel. You can be brushing your teeth in the bathroom and strike up an amazing conversation with one of the girls. Or stand out in the hallway and talk for hours about any number of topics. This isn’t just “How ‘bout them Twins?” but rather the deep, important questions of real life. We take care of each other. When someone is sick, we will do whatever we can to get them better, be it making them chicken noodle soup or giving them some cough drops. We don’t have to worry about repaying each other for it will all even out in the end! You learn how to live with other people in college, and the CWF is no exception.
But okay, you don’t have to be a Catholic Women’s floor to have a community feel. I’ll give you that. There are also plenty of things we do to live our Catholic faith. We are women of prayer. Every weeknight we pray night prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours, the prayer of the Church. Someone will see that it is 10:00 and start knocking on doors and we’ll get a group together. Last fall we completed St. Louis de Montfort’s Total Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was a fabulous saint with an incredible devotion to our Blessed Mother and created a spiritual handbook of prayers and readings that you complete for a month, ending on a Marian feast day when you make your own consecration to our Mother Mary. It was difficult (especially when you got to days with several litanies and a rosary to be prayed all at once!) but with one another’s support we kept it up.
Some of us go to daily Mass together and on Sundays we will go to 11:00 Mass and then to brunch. Most of us serve on the same Mass team, as Lectors, Eucharistic ministers, or Hospitality ministers. We have adoration hours together in the chapel just downstairs in Koch Commons (don’t even need to go outside to visit our Lord 24 hours a day during the week!). There’s always somebody to go with you to any number of faith-based clubs and organizations on campus (there’s literally something every night), be it Students for Human Life, St. Paul’s Outreach, or Catholic Witness. And if you miss a lecture that comes to campus you can surely find somebody who went and took notes!
We have an incredible RA who is really like a mother to the floor. Oftentimes after night prayer we will just hang out in her room listening to beautiful music, looking at gorgeous art, and enjoying good conversation. She plans many great activities for us to enjoy from a craft night of decorating photo frames to floor dinners of Chinese food or spaghetti. We have monthly birthday parties and each month a different group of girls signs up to decorate the bathroom so it’s nice and cheery in there! We picked Advent Angels before Christmas time, a really fun way to do little good deeds or leave little gifts for our special person all through Advent! We went to the Farmer’s Market in St. Paul back in the fall to buy delicious fresh vegetables and then cooked dinner at the Catholic men’s house. There are many stupendous Catholic living communities on campus and the men’s house always has an open invitation for Sunday night dinner. They love it when we cook!
Be it playing Bible Mad Gab late at night during finals week when everyone is extremely overtired or staying at the dinner table examining those questionable white things in the salad bar and laughing our heads off, we on the floor have shared countless good memories. I can honestly say that after just seven months of knowing these women, the girls on the CWF are some of my best friends. We are even cool enough to have honorary members who hang out with us all the time!! In fact I loved the floor so much that I signed up for my same room next year! So come join me! More good times are sure to come on the UST Catholic Women’s Floor!