Catholic houses bring religion home for students

Most students associate practicing their faith with leaving their residence halls or apartments to go to a church, but for 13 students, their homes have become an active place of worship.

These men and women live in the St. Claude de la Colombière Men’s Catholic House, 967 N. 15th St., and the St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Women’s Catholic House, 1529 W. State St.

At these houses, Marquette students look to live out their faith in a communal setting. Six men live at St. Claude’s, and seven women live at St. Margaret’s. The students at each house gather to pray every day and come together on Fridays to pray the rosary.

The houses are not affiliated with the university, although the residents are all Marquette students.

According to men’s house resident David Kruse, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, the houses’ members are dedicated to maintaining “an intentional Catholic community.”

Each morning in the men’s three-story duplex, the group gathers to pray the Liturgy of the Hours – a tradition that has continued since the house was founded in 2002. Last year, the house was honored with a visit by then-Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan.

Riad El-Azem, a 2009 alumnus and former men’s house resident, said he chose to live in the house his junior and senior years for the community it fostered.

“Living there provided an excellent atmosphere to foster spirituality,” El-Azem said.

Maria Rose, a junior in the College of Nursing, lives in the women’s house and described it as a fun, upbeat atmosphere.

“It’s a cool opportunity that comes with challenges,” Rose said. “You learn a lot about yourself and to accept the differences of those around you. It gives you a chance to grow in virtue during these formative years.”

In addition to group prayer and rosary, the men and women attend Mass together each week. Residents also typically hold one big non-alcoholic party each month that is open to all, offering an alternative party scene.

Kruse said these parties are a great opportunity to meet people and mingle in a safe, friendly environment. He estimated their recent Halloween party hosted more than 200 people.

Though Kruse and the men currently living in St. Claude’s are not planning to become priests, he said they all have considered the priesthood at some point.

Kruse, a theology and philosophy major, said ideally he would be a youth minister after graduating as a way to serve others.

The Rev. Daniel Janasik graduated from CatholicHouseMarquette in 2002 after living in the men’s house and is currently associate pastor at St. Francis Borgia Catholic Church in Cedarburg, Wis.

Janasik is an example of one of the housemates continuing the life of ministry, Kruse said.

Members of the houses place an emphasis on openness to all looking to partake in their mission.

Rose said they are looking to take in “anyone who is seeking support in faith.”