• January 10, 2013

These College Students Push Untypical Boundaries!

Kyle and other friends
with the Spokane community

by Kyle Franklin, Student at Gonzaga University, Spokane

When many people think of the typ­ical col­lege expe­ri­ence, they think about unre­strained freedom—the lack of parental super­vi­sion often trans­lates to testing waters and pushing bound­aries. While most of that behavior is out­grown and the deci­sions do not have life­long con­se­quences, that aspect of the col­lege expe­ri­ence is not healthy. But there is another aspect of the col­lege expe­ri­ence that can lead to life­long friend­ships: inten­tional com­mu­nity.

At many schools, com­munal living and the com­mu­nity expe­ri­ence is fos­tered through res­i­dence halls. Gonzaga is no dif­ferent. But most stu­dents move off campus after their sopho­more year, choosing to live in apart­ments or houses with friends. While there are a handful of theme houses (cen­tered around a sport or club activity), most of these res­i­dences are simply groups of friends who live together out of con­ve­nience.

Heart’s Home is dif­ferent. Heart’s Home Spokane is a patch­work of lives that have come together to live the love of Jesus inten­tion­ally in the greater com­mu­nity of Gonzaga University. Rather than hosting keg­gers and raging par­ties, the women of Heart’s Home host post-Mass brunches. Rather than keeping School of Community restricted to them­selves, they invite friends and acquain­tances to par­tic­i­pate. Additionally, they host Rosary prayer times twice a week and spend inten­tional time in prayer each night.

Beyond the daily time they spend together, the women invest in the lives of others. In a pre­vious posi­tion, one of the women devel­oped a friend­ship with a home­less woman in town. That friend­ship blos­somed to become a friend­ship among all of the women. They often invite the woman and her daughter for a “family” dinner, nour­ishing both her body and her need for com­mu­nity. Additionally, they spend time with the res­i­dents of Spokane’s L’Arche Community, eating meals and even Christmas Caroling.

I was intro­duced to Heart’s Home by Amy, one of my class­mates in the Masters of Religious Studies pro­gram at Gonzaga. Having gone through a dif­fi­cult time this past semester, I spent much time at Heart’s Home. Over the course of the semester, the other women became close friends, too. We studied together, watched movies, ate meals, and just spent time. Our friend­ships devel­oped to the point that I con­sider each of them to be best friends. They didn’t just fill a void—they over­whelmed me with love and sup­port.

The women of Hearts Home Spokane are an inten­tional com­mu­nity—but their com­mu­nity is not exclu­sive—it includes the people and people groups around them. The bound­aries they push are not typ­ical of young col­lege stu­dents. Rather, they push the bound­aries of what it means to be com­mu­nity, wel­coming many, sharing meal in both tra­di­tional and untra­di­tional ways, and loving like Jesus.

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