TOR friar, Franciscan alumna team up for book on household life


A book that details the history of Franciscan University households and is co-authored by a TOR friar and a Franciscan alumnus went to print this month.

The Rev. Gregory Plow, TOR, the coordinator of Franciscan household life, began research for the book in fall 2013.

Plow wrote “No Longer Strangers: How one college campus battled student isolation with a unique solution and what they’ve learned over 40 years later” with Franciscan University alumna Regina Doman, who graduated in 1992 and was a member of the now inactive women’s household Israel’s Hope, said Plow.

“I felt a certain responsibility for writing this book because I have been in this position as coordinator of households longer than anyone has before me,” said Plow, who has been working with households for nine years. “I felt like I had a better grasp than anybody to write this book. Granted, there was a lot I still had to learn. There were a lot of interviews I did with people who told me about the early days of household that I had no idea about.”

Plow said 12 people were interviewed for the book, many of whom are still part of the university community, including Margaret Weber, director of admissions. He also interviewed all of the former coordinators of household life.

Plow dug through the household life archives that he has stored in his office. He said that many of those documents include handwritten notes and speeches from the Rev. Michael Scanlan, TOR, who coined the idea of households, calling them a new “mode of residential living.”

Plow said, “Households started largely experimental. … There was a model, but they weren’t the households we know today. (Scanlan and his board of trustees) were having continuous departmental meetings to help form what they supposed households should be. I’ve researched all of them.”

He said the title also came from an idea of Scanlan’s, who said that the loneliest people are often college freshmen.

Students came to Franciscan from all over the country and may have often felt isolated, he continued. Households were created, in part, to help bring together strangers and to build a community, so they were no longer strangers, explained Plow.

“The title reflects the answer to the problem of fresh(men) loneliness,” said Plow.

He said that the cover of “No Longer Strangers” was borrowed for the Winter 2015 edition of Franciscan Way magazine, which discussed 40 years of household life. It features the logos of many of the currently active households on a burlap-looking background, Plow said.

The book has six chapters and 90 pages, said Plow, and it is a limited edition release with only 1,500 copies have been printed and made available in the Franciscan University bookstore and on the bookstore website for $9.99. Plow said that some of the proceeds will go towards household life

“It was a big project,” said Plow.