Now in its second year, the Catholic women’s floor in Dowling Hall is proving to be a great success. Currently, 38 undergraduate women reside on the floor. Coming from a variety of backgrounds and studying for majors as diverse as biochemistry, mechanical engineering, accounting, education and Catholic Studies, these women find themselves united in seeking a faith-filled environment in which they can study, play and pray together.
A student-led initiative, the Catholic women’s floor fulfills its mission to help “students grow in their relationship with Christ and with each other” by attracting women who are committed to their faith and who encourage and support each other. Floor members regularly plan events both formal and informal that enhance spiritual growth, such as regular evening prayers and participating in eucharistic adoration. This fall, the group held a retreat at St. Joseph’s parish in West St. Paul where they reflected on talks given by speakers on the dignity and vocation of women; afterward, they spent an evening at the home of resident Angie Neumann, enjoying each others’ company over that rarity of student dorm life, a home-cooked meal. Future events will include volunteer work on service projects as well as inviting a series of speakers in to address floor residents on topics of importance to women and faith. Floor members also take time to have fun together: They celebrate each other’s birthdays in great style, and some members participate in Dowling Hall events such as this year’s homecoming powder-puff football tournament.
Freshman Christy Cink was drawn to the Catholic women’s floor because she wanted to be surrounded by people who take their faith seriously and who encourage spiritual development. Sophomore Sarah Northenscold agrees. “Coming from a small town and having been home schooled, I knew that the transition to the university might be difficult,” she states. “The core group of supportive friends I have found here makes me very comfortable on campus while always challenging me to grow spiritually. The example of these women has been really amazing.” As senior Katherine Moyer puts it, “I think that much of the beauty of the floor comes from the networking and connections made. For example, if a resident wants to go to daily Mass, or is interested in Students for Human Life or campus ministry, she’ll find women in leadership roles in these organizations right down the hall.”
Dowling Hall chaplain Maria Wiering, a recent St. Thomas graduate who lives in the hall, calls her work an “unbelievable blessing in my life.” “It is very exciting to see the Catholic women’s floor thrive in a dorm setting,” she states. “Sadly, most college dormitories aren’t conducive to a really prayerful Christian life – a Christian community where virtue can grow; however, I’ve found that these women refuse to settle for mediocrity in life. They have humbly acknowledged that they need a community around them to help them grow in faith and holiness. And that is what they’ve created.”