Much like any college student, I woke up pondering future plans for world domination; I rolled off the top bunk, skipped past the kneeling and the praying, took the imperative hot shower, dressed myself in brand name T-shirt and wrinkle-free jeans, then made my way to the breakfast table to indulge in an exultant bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats.
And there, resting on the wall across from me, with a face full of determination and a pipe full of tobacco, was the saintly face of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassatti, who reminded me of what I had neglected to do that morning: Pray. It was then that I remembered who I was, a Catholic Studies student, and all plans for world domination drifted away as I finished cereal and carried on with the busy vocation of being a student.
Distinctive to the Catholic Studies program is the students’ mutual approach to the academic life as a vocation − rather than a means to worldly success − by participating in the common call to holiness. A student’s vocation, however stressful or demanding it may be, is ultimately an invitation to partake in the beauty of the universal Church through the ordinary events of daily life. Although, “ordinary” is perhaps a lacking description of the life of a Catholic Studies student.
Allow me to walk you through the ordinary day of a Catholic Studies student. For all one knows, this program will reveal itself as something extending far beyond the measures of ordinary .
The relentless clang of the alarm clock pounds in my ears. Motivation is nowhere to be found. Then, the hope of a fresh cup of coffee coaxes me out of bed, and I make my way to the campus chapel to attend Mass with my brothers and sisters.
What a beautiful congregation. Students and professors, all of the same faith and all filled with love for their vocation, fill the pews. The quiet of the morning and the presence of the Lord bring peace to the worries that so often overwhelm a student’s leisurely life. How a peaceful day could be started any other way is beyond our understanding. I use “our” rather than “my” because the Catholic Studies’ student body participates in one common life.
The warmth of the chapel leaves us as the frigid air tries to replace the peace of Christ, but a love for our studies carries us onto class. Sitzmann Hall, our home, welcomes us with the bold aroma of coffee brewing in the kitchen and a glorious portrait of Catherine of Siena hanging in the entryway. With the example of our patron we proceed to the classroom to partake in discussions, often provocative and insightful, concerning the philosophical and theological beliefs of our faith, the practices and visions of our everyday lives and the significance of the Church in today’s culture. Not to mention that these discussions and lectures are held in 55S, the quintessential setting for the academic life.
With the remnants of classroom discussion stirring in our minds, a quick lunch is had before we all disperse for the remainder of our day’s respective activities. To the Catholic Men’s House I go. Here, I am greeted with the usual bowl of pasta and the heated philosophical debate that fills the house with an atmosphere of masculinity and fraternity. Community living, as on the Catholic Men’s Floor and the Catholic Women’s Floor, is a central component of any lifestyle that is set on being virtuous, especially within the context of a college campus. Regardless of what community one may be a part of or what house one calls home, we, the Catholic Studies students, all know that our home is Sitzmann and our com-munity is the Catholic Church.
We live together. We pray together. We study together. And we love one another all for the sake of something much greater than any of us, the Catholic Studies program and the Lord, our God.
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