Dear Traditionalist looking for an authentic Catholic University:
I had never been to Franciscan University of Steubenville and had the chance to visit there with our Varsity Volleyball team this past weekend. I've known a myriad of people who have gone to the school and have loved and praised it for its many benefits. Even after hearing the stories, I've always thought: "Enthusiastic about their school. Nice. Franciscan spirituality is a little too touchy/feely for me." And, I left it at that. For this and a variety of other reasons, I didn't think that any of my kids would go to school there, so we just never made the trip to "come and see" FUS.
Note to self: Always do what Jesus says: "come and see."
There's something different about Franciscan. At first, I couldn't put my finger on it. After several days of roaming the campus, it became more clear. The students were HAPPY...like, always happy. They were diverse (and not just racially): from tattoos to guages to girls (and some guys) with hair that could braid to their ankles, high collared blouses, maxi-skirts, bow ties and boat shoes and of course, the student athletes with saran wrap and ice packs all over their bodies. There was every variety of Catholic there and they were peaceful and fun loving -- lots of laughter and enthusiasm.
Even at Mass you could sense a difference.
I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy the contemporary liturgy and music. I'm more a traditionalist when it come these things. But, again, I needed to "come and see".
I was so surprised at how beautifully blended the traditional was with the contemporary. I got smells and bells and praise and worship seamlessly intertwined. It was peaceful and uplifting at the same time. And, there was no shortage of those eager to respond or sing. The movement of the Spirit in the Church was inspiring, and I left that Mass having worshiped God in all His glory!
So, while there still may be some reasons why my kids will probably not attend FUS, I can't say any longer that it's because Franciscan spirituality is too "touchy/feely" or "contemporary". Nope, not at Steubie. They do it just right!
If you haven't visited FUS, maybe you're like me and had a preconceived notion. I encourage you to "come and see" what they have to offer. You'll be pleasantly surprised!
PS...it's easier to say "The Port" (for those of you who know what I'm talking about -- the rest go check it out -- It's awesome!)