By Peter Baugher
Maria Resuta and Christina King were not sure if their household would survive.
In fact, by this time a year from now, King thought they would be preparing to shut household down.
Women’s household Acceptance With Joy opened the spring 2023 semester with four sisters and no intents. One sister went affiliate and another decided to go home, leaving King and Resuta co-coordinators and the only full members of their household within the first few weeks of the semester.
The household, founded in 1980, was among the first households at Franciscan, although it became inactive sometime between the 1990s and 2014.
In 2013, a freshmen student named Sarah Baugher was looking for a household to join but did not feel at home with any particular group.
The Rev. Gregory Plow, TOR told Baugher about Acceptance With Joy, a household that he thought fit her spirituality, but which was inactive at that time.
Baugher and a few other women worked to resurrect the household throughout the 2013 school year, officially reestablishing it in 2014 with Baugher as coordinator.
Several years later in 2020, King intented over Zoom as a freshman due to the COVID-19 lockdowns.
“It just kinda stuck…. I didn’t feel like a stranger or outsider … (I loved) the theme of acceptance with joy and finding joy even within the struggles of life,” King said of her decision to intent her freshman year.
From the fall of 2021, the semester King become coordinator, to the spring of 2023, AWJ dwindled from 12 down to two sisters. The household saw no new intents from King’s sophomore year until spring 2023.
Although concerned about the future of household, King and Resuta remained optimistic, drawing on their household charisms, especially joy and trust.
“It was lot of work and a lot of praying and a lot of trusting in God,” said King. “We got a new adviser who has been super, super involved and very, very good and our fundraisers were going well, so we did feel like God was setting us up for something, but we were feeling that for three semesters, so (we) wondered if this was going anywhere.”
Then, in mid-March, freshman communication arts major Katelyn Henry texted King, and, a few hours later, freshman history major Claire Breckenridge texted Resuta, both asking to intent.
“Because there are only two us of in household, we had decided that if someone comes to one of us, we’re not going to tell the other one,” King said.
After spring break, Breckenridge intented, followed by Henry a few days later.
“It was really exciting…. The past couple weeks with starting formation, it’s been a lot of looking back on all the things I’ve prayed for, for a really long time. Its amazing to see how God works,” said King.
Commenting on what lead to her decision to intent, Henry said, “I finally went to rosary commitment on Thursday and that really solidified it.”
Breckenridge added, “I hope to get a deeper faith…a deeper sense of relationships…and having a community around me to help me strive to be holy. And just to have fun, as sisters should.”
Breckenridge and Henry have begun formation in the pillars of their new household and say that they are excited for the next few years, adding that they recognize that they will likely step up to positions of leadership after the current sisters graduate.
King is entering graduate school for Franciscan’s 4+1 theology program but is planning to remain coordinator next year, while Resuta will be entering her senior year as a communication arts major.
Acceptance With Joy places itself under the patronage of Our Lady of Sorrows, St. Pope John Paul II, St. Bridget of Sweden and St. Teresa of Calcutta and their charisms are joy, forgiveness, trust, courage and humility.
Their commitments include a Seven Sorrows rosary on Thursdays, Mass and dinner on Fridays and Lords’ Day on Saturday, as well as a weekly “hills and valleys” sisterhood night and monthly holy hour, both of which are closed commitments. The household also hosts an optional movie night on the fourth Friday of the month at 8 p.m.
Unless otherwise noted, Acceptance With Joy hosts all commitments in its common room, room 439 in St. Thomas More Hall.