Speakers discuss importance of households to Franciscan culture

Maggie McCarron
Staff Writer

Households are one of the greatest gifts on campus at Franciscan University of Steubenville, said the university president at a talk on the history and future of households Monday night in the Gentile Gallery.

The Rev. Dave Pivonka, TOR, and Kelly Herrmann, coordinator of Carae Domini household, talked to students about households past, present and future. 

Herrmann graduated Franciscan in 1987. She was a part of the Carae Domini household as a student and served as coordinator for two years. She has been the advisor for Carae Domini since 1998.

During the ’80s, households were much less of a formality, Herrmann said. All households were small, and if there were more than 15 students in a single household, they were encouraged to split into two. 

There were no inductions, no intents and not many traditions, the speakers said. When someone wanted to join a household, all they did was ask and the household would discuss if they liked the person, Herrmann said.

Greek life was also still present on campus in the ’80s. Students could be in both a sorority or fraternity and a household, Herrmann said.

“The Greek organizations had a way of doing things that was all about ‘the stuff,’” Herrmann said, about the traditions of Greek life.

Once Greek life was banned on campus in the ’90s, households started gaining more traditions and had more to do with the “stuff.” 

Herrmann said another change to households was the introduction of NCAA Division III Athletics. In the ’80s and ’90s, intramurals were one of the main parts of households. Then, almost every household would have an intramural team, which was how members would get to know each other. 

Speaking about the present and future of households, Pivonka said, “I think household is probably one of the greatest gifts that the Lord gave Franciscan University, and we would not be the same if it wasn’t for them at Franciscan.”

Pivonka said keeping households alive and thriving depends on the students. To have a strong household, it must be made up of individuals committed to Jesus. 

Households are made up of individual members, and every member does not need to fit into a mold of a certain personality. Jesus is more important than traditions, Pivonka said.

Households also need to love the other members, Pivonka said. If one member cannot make it to every single commitment, it does not mean that they need to be kicked out of household. People should make sacrifices to go to commitments, but it does not mean it is an absolute necessity. 

Pivonka said households need a balance. They need to pray together, serve together and play together. They must be inclusive, not exclusive. He said they must also be evangelistic and have a vision of what they want and how to get there. 

Senior Annie King said, “It was a great gift to our community to learn about household past, present and future! I loved the insights that Kelly Herrmann and Fr. Dave had to offer to better household life on campus and to bear witness to the sisterhood and brotherhood they experience because of household.”