Franciscan University encourages students to listen, not only to their professors but to God himself. Here is what some of you heard from the Lord—and how it changed your lives.
Lisa Ferguson ’84
It was my second semester at Franciscan, and I deeply desired to encounter God personally at the heart level. I had been praying in tongues for a year and really embraced what I was learning in my theology classes, but I knew I lacked an experiential knowledge of God’s love.
It was in my brother Tim’s (’87) dorm room that the breakthrough occurred. We were listening to a tape of a priest’s testimony, in which he described looking at a horrifyingly realistic Spanish crucifix, and said, “Jesus, are you crazy? Are you out of your mind?” My heart finally grasped that Jesus went to the cross for ME because he was insanely in love with me. I fell passionately in love with Jesus at that moment, and the whole basis of my relationship was transformed from that of a guy trying to be “good enough” for God to a true love relationship.
Steve Kroeger ’86, MA ’88
I arrived at Franciscan as an angry ex-Catholic. I’d been on staff at a Vineyard church and grown significantly as a Christian and a leader. I was moving into pastoral leadership; they sent me to Franciscan to settle the “Are you going to stay a Catholic?” question. That first semester, I spent MANY hours meeting with my professors, confronting them and arguing through every point in their lectures. Impressively, every single one of them patiently answered me—and prayed for me, day after day.
On the fall MA Theology retreat, Jesus and I had a tête-à-tête during adoration. He let me know that my complaints about the Church were valid. He also told me that, nonetheless, he CHOOSES to become present in the Eucharist through sinful priests ANYWAY. Could I ask for more than he did? I knew I could not.
I went to confession and continued to haunt my profs during office hours, but now with a desire to understand, not confront.
Katherine (Jo) O’Brien
MA Theology ’91
After falling in love with the TOR friars and the Portiuncula Chapel, I realized God was really drawing me to himself through the times I spent in adoration and through listening to the great homilies the friars preached. It didn’t take long for me to discover a desire to be a Franciscan for the rest of my life, but it took several years to discover whether it was as a secular or religious.
I was one of the privileged students to pioneer the study abroad program in Austria in fall 1991. To aid in my discernment, I began praying a 30-day novena to St. Joseph, which ended on my 21st birthday while I was in Austria. That evening as I prayed before the Blessed Sacrament in the Sacred Heart Chapel, I sensed Jesus ask me what was the deepest desire of my heart. I realized he had changed my heart so that I wanted to belong totally to him more than anything else. I sensed him invite me to be his bride, and thankfully, the joy and peace that flooded my heart in that moment has never left me.
I entered the Franciscan Sisters, TOR of Penance of the Sorrowful Mother four years later. Now I have the privilege of “giving back” some of the wonderful gift I received through doing campus ministry at my alma mater!
Sister Mary Catherine Kasuboski, TOR ’93
The thing I noticed when I was on campus (1998-2000) was the positive peer pressure my fellow students exhibited.
You were always encouraged to attend Mass, pray the Rosary, the Divine Office (Christian Prayer or the Breviary), Divine Mercy Chaplet, or go to “The Port” for adoration by your fellow students. What really impressed me was students getting up in the middle of the night to do their shift for their hour of adoration—dragging along their pillows and blankets—and the Festivals of Praise, where 1,000 students would be there worshipping and adoring Jesus.
Michael Wrasman ’00
Originally published in the Autumn 2016 Franciscan Magazine.
Your turn: What did you hear from God during your time here? What did it mean to you? Send replies to FranciscanMagazine@Franciscan.edu, and we will share online or in Franciscan Magazine (submissions subject to editing).