On Sunday, October 15, my colleague Maggie Perry and I ventured to Steubenville, Ohio to meet with students at Franciscan University – Steubenville. If you follow my blog, you’ll remember I dubbed Franciscan the “best Catholic University in the nation” in my post on April 20, 2006. I still hold to that. And, this time, since I was visiting on a Sunday, I wanted to attend mass.
Mass at Franciscan University is an incredible experience. What a powerful worship it was. Since we were traveling from an hour away (Pittsburgh), we got there a bit early to meet up with Terrance Schilling, who will be leading the ISI Group at Franciscan. Terrance and his girlfriend Becca Herr met us a bit early. But, the chapel was getting packed by 10:30am. Hundreds of students come early to pray and many stayed much longer after mass to continue praying. It is no wonder that his university turns out more students to religious life than any other Catholic school in the nation.
After mass, we went to lunch with Terrance, Becca, and two other students, Patrice and Teresa. They are really great kids and I have a lot of hope that this group will be successful. ISI has tradtionally had a great relationship with many students and professors at Franciscan, but no real “group” has been there for quite some time (if ever?) Now, it appears there will be an intellectual formative group where these very conservative Catholics can dive even deeper into the deepness that is conservativism and Catholicism.
On Sunday night, Maggie and I went about an hour or so north to an area just about 30 mintues north of Pittsburgh to stay with her grandmother, who is a charming lady. On Monday, we drove back towards Philly and Delaware, but we stopped at St. Vincent’s College in Latrobe, PA. We met up for lunch with some faculty that run the Center for Political and Economic Thought. ISI is helping to co-sponsor some of the lectures they are bringing in. They were very delightful folks and we got a pretty extensive tour of the school, which is America’s first Benedictine College. The basilica on campus was just amazing. The curriculum and culture is fairly conservative and the school is actually listed in ISI’s All American Colleges guide. (I’m not sure, but Franciscan might be in there too). Just for the record, Franciscan University has been listed in ISI’s Choosing the Right College guide.
After we had lunch, we got back on the road. We had about 4 hours left. Then, I could finally get home and pass out.