One of the quiet gems of the Habiger Institute for Catholic Leadership is the Catholic Studies women’s houses, where women develop a rhythm and practice of Catholic life and study. The two houses have a simple rule of life, a chaplain and regular events including Masses together, meals, nights of formation, invited speakers, evangelistic gathering and good fun. Each house has a prefect, whose role is “first among equals” but at the same time is responsible for managing the daily structure and communicating general household needs.
The women of the households, both present and former, constitute the Sisterhood of Our Lady of Good Help. They seek Christ though a life of prayer, scholarship, sisterhood and self-giving. Through a rule of life that includes Mass and personal prayer, study, service and hospitality, they hope to be more deeply conformed to the image of Christ.
Hannah Polsky, senior prefect, is drawn not only to the academic and spiritual aspects but also to the physical realities of the house.
“I love the atmosphere of the houses,” Polsky said. “You walk in our front door and you are greeted by a little wall shrine to the Sacred Heart, a few saint statues and a poster of our Holy Father. You turn to your right and there is a beautiful crucifix, an icon of our patron, St. Edith Stein, and an image of Mary. In the dining room there is a poster of Edith Stein and a Divine Mercy image. Into the kitchen, our fridge reminds us, with a quote from Tolkien, that, in the Blessed Sacrament ‘you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves upon earth.’”
But it isn’t just the physical beauty of the houses that draws eight women to invest a year or two of their lives to community living, it’s the spiritual bonds and practices that make the houses a home.
“Being joined together in prayer with the other sisters gives me a feeling similar to that of watching the night sky with a friend and both spotting a shooting star. A good feeling,” senior prefect Michaela Andrews wrote. “While many of us are discerning our future vocations, being in the sisterhood calls attention to our current vocation as students. Our college years are not to be just a transition, but a vocation, a call to seek ‘Christ, the one Truth to whom all knowledge leads.’ Although the major fields of study within the sisterhood are diverse, it is beautiful how they all can work to pursue truth. … how each path of study has the potential to draw us nearer to Christ.”
To read more about the Catholic Studies women’s houses, visit the Habiger Institute for Catholic Leadership website.
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