b'Each house is assigned Giardino. Theyre discovering that community two mentors (typically the web of relationshipscan be transformative,vowed religious or he says. Its crucial for Marianist life, and its goingMarianist Educational to be important for them later in life, whether in theirAssociates employed families or in the workplace.by UD) who meetmonthly with theCommunity in times of crisisstudent communities Community provides strength in times of crisis, too, asto provide encourage- the most recent cohort of 62 MSC residents discoveredment and assist with when the COVID-19 pandemic upended the finalPHOTO: JULIE WALLINGproblem-solving.months of the 2019-2020 school year. Steve Mueller, who With the campus vacated just prior to spring break,was director of UDs many UD students found themselves grieving the losscounseling center and of time together, says Morgan. But the communityLeeAnn Meyer, MSC coordinator,Office for Mission & Rector now serves as its interim she once shared with her housemates wound updirector, has been an providing cherished consolations in the final monthsMSC mentor for close to 20 years. Steve was one of the of the semester. Their in-person faith-sharing morphedPHOTO: MORGAN DAYmentors who guided LeeAnns MSC in her undergrad into weekly Zoom chats, giving Morgan a chance todays. He was a godsend, she recalls. His background appreciate the gift of friends who are willing to setas a counselor was extremely helpful as we navigated aside a whole evening just to be together and pray.the inherent tension that occurs when working to Coles experience was similar, with most of theMorgan Day, 2019-2020 MSCbuild community. 10 members of the Trinity House MSC gatheringparticipant and UD gradLeeAnn also valued Steves willingness to share virtually online at 9 p.m. each Tuesday for prayer his own faith journey. But its the students, says Steve, including one housemate who often logged in from Weekly Zoom chatswho continue to amaze him. Im always touched by his home in China. Due to time zone differences, their this spring gavethe energy the students put forward on a spiritual and evening prayer began at his breakfast hour, so its Morgan Day areflective level, he says. been cool seeing him hop on the calls, Cole says. chance to appreciateThe MSCs also used virtual links to take part in mini- the gift of friendsA counter-cultural witness retreats and in-service sessions. In April, LeeAnn organ- who are willing toBy design, some of that spiritual energy is directed ized a Zoom meeting that brought together the current set aside a wholeoutwardtoward other students and the neighbor- and future members of the six MSC legacy houses for evening just to be hood at large. The Trinity House MSC, for example, an afternoon of passing the torch and personal reflections. together and pray,regularly welcomes others to participate in a bi-weekly Theres a lot of wisdom that can be shared from she says.Mass in the chapel of their house, which was once a this years cohort to the next, LeeAnn says. AndMarianist residence. some of their favorite stories are the funny momentsA monthly Chocolate and Chat event has become that happened in community, the little things thatthe signature spiritual outreach for the MSC at 340 theyll remember for a long time.Stonemill, whose members entice other students to Living the charism in real-time is precisely thetake part in meaningful discussion by distributing point of having UD students focus on the blessingscandies with conversation-starter questions attached. to be found in intentional community, according toStill other MSCs have organized prayer services such Brother Tom. Charisms die if they no longer giveas a living rosary in a public space on campus, or any light to real life, he says. The MSCs help ushave hung sheet signs on their porches (a venerable witness the light of the Marianist charism. They bringStudent Neighborhood tradition) to highlight key lots of new energy and give a new language to faith.Marianist values. Young people always do!\x01The students willingness to offer such counter-cultural witness comes as no surprise to Brother Tom John Schroeder is a freelance writer from St. Louis. For more information about Marianist Student Communities at University of Dayton, go toudayton.edu/rector/ formation-opportunities/msc.marianist.com/donate 19'