A Franciscan priest walks into a barbershop and asks to get a haircut. The barber says, “Of course! And I see that you’re wearing the brown habit. Are you a Franciscan?” The priest answered that yes, he was. When the barber finished cutting his hair, he insisted that the haircut was free. “I love the Franciscans!” he insisted. And so the priest thanked him profusely and left. The next day when the barber went to open up his shop, he found three loaves of bread on his doorstep from the Franciscan. Later that day, a Dominican priest came into the shop looking to get his hair cut. For him, the barber also insisted the haircut was free. “I love the Dominicans!” he exclaimed. So the Dominican thanked him profusely and left. The next day when the barber went to open up his shop, he found three bottles of wine on his doorstep from the Dominican. Later that day a Jesuit came into the shop looking to get his hair cut. Again, the barber insisted that the haircut was free. “I love the Jesuits!” he explained. So the priest thanked him profusely and left. The next morning when the barber went to open up his shop, he found three more Jesuits on his doorstep.

Ahahaha! Get it?

That’s probably one of my favorite jokes of all time. But it really is quite true! If the Jesuits are anything, they’re practical. They work among the people who need them most. They educate young minds. They ask for action to be done, changes to be made, and voices to be heard. So I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised—knowing that the priest here is a Jesuit—once I finally got a good look around the chaplaincy (campus ministry), to find that it was so incredibly practical. It’s open all day, and students just come and go as they like. There’s a big room with a bunch of tables and chairs on the first floor, and a lot of students just sort of hang out there and study or do work. But right next to that room is a kitchen that students are allowed to use as well. There is always a big kettle-thing of hot water, and anyone is welcome to a free cup of tea or coffee (although instant coffee just seems too weird to me. I’ll stick to tea thank you). And of course there’s sugar and cream, and there’s usually a tin of cookies (biscuits), and a loaf of bread, and a toaster if you want toast. All of it free, whenever you like. Then at lunch time, they put on a big pot of soup and you can just help yourself to it. Again, totally free.

Then just down the hall from the lounge area is a beautiful chapel. It’s open for as long as the chaplaincy is, and it’s magnificent. It’s very small and personal, but the walls on either side of the room are all windows from floor to ceiling with stained glass images hanging in them. It’s so peaceful.

That’s not it though. There’s an upstairs with couches, a TV, a DVD player, a foosball and a pool table, and then a fairly good sized library! There’s even a second much smaller kitchen, although it apparently isn’t used as much. There’s also a third floor where the priest lives. Once again, extremely practical.

The chaplaincy is literally the perfect haven for students. Free caffeine, free food, tons of books, study space, a place of solace when you’re stressed, and to top it off the students that spend time there are wonderful. And Father Tim, of course, is also wonderful. He makes a point of knowing every student that spends any time there, and when a new face wanders in (like myself) he makes sure everyone currently in the room knows their name, and he even asked one of them to show me around so I knew where everything was. I guess that “Spring Hill bubble” feeling—that feeling of a small and close-knit community—can be found even at the largest of schools.

So I guess the most logical question now is: when will SHC Campus Ministry start serving free tea and coffee?

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