Two New Housing Options Offer Unique Experiences in Spirituality, Sustainability

Thursday, December 20, 2018
Students gardening near campus

Hang around Rockhurst long enough and you'll hear the phrase “making God’s good world better” as a goal for any endeavor. And starting next fall, a new housing option will be built around just that.

The University announced this week the establishment of two new housing options in the east wing of the former Jesuit residence on the north side of campus, each centered on fostering its own identity.

“Kateri Community will offer our students a deeper dive into Rockhurst University’s Catholic and Jesuit mission, all done within a communal setting,” said Bill Kriege, University director of campus ministry.

Named for St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the first American Indian saint and the patroness of ecology and the environment — Kateri Community will actually be two different intentional communities, housed on different floors of the building in single and double rooms.

One will give students focused on sustainability and the call to care for the environment embodied in the 2015 papal encyclical Laudato Si, issued by Jesuit Pope Francis. Members of this community will have opportunities such as growing produce in raised garden beds located behind the building, training in food preservation by way of canning, and chances to connect with other area organizations doing work in environmental sustainability. In addition, members of this community will be able to experience the Ignatian Family Teach In for Justice or the Supernatural retreat — a weeklong summer expedition fusing spirituality and the outdoors — at a reduced cost.

The other half of the community is targeted at those students who wish to immerse themselves more deeply into Catholic and Ignatian spirituality, with opportunities to partake in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola and 24-hour access to the Blessed Sacrament chapel. Members of this community will also be able to take part in campus ministry-related retreats and trips, from the annual Ignatian Family Teach In for Justice in Washington, D.C., to service immersion trips domestic and abroad, for reduced costs.

Both communities will include other amenities — individual bathrooms for each room, shared laundry and kitchen facilities, and common areas — and each will host a weekly community meal and spirituality night.

“We’re not the only university offering intentional living opportunities for our students,” Kriege said. “But we do feel that the Kateri Community is unique in what it offers students looking to immerse themselves more fully in aspects of our Jesuit mission and identity and how that manifests itself in the world around them.”