When I was 18, I had many options for higher education. My SAT scores got me letters from Ivy League schools, and my father urged me to accept an intvitation to be one of the first women at West Point, but what I longed for was an authentic Catholic, liberal arts education, integrated with, and not embarrassed by the Catholic Faith.
I searched long and hard, as options were scarce in 1980, and finally found small St. Anselm College in Manchester, NH. Steeped in the Benedictine tradition, proud of it's Catholic heritage, with an exceptional two year integrated Humanities Program, St. Anselm's was a jewel in the crown of the Church. I had a wonderful education there Freshman and Sophomore years, until illness forced me to study closer to home, but I have always been a proud Anselmian. Until now.
I read at Bettnet that St. Anselm's will begin co-ed dorms, due to the high number of students enrolling. How sad, since, for many of them, the main reason they are enrolling is because of the relatively strong Catholic identity there. This identity may now be on the wane. How tragic!
I remember the parietal system, which flushed out the opposite sex from the dorms after visiting hours on weekends (1 AM), so the dorm occupants could sleep. Did I ever break the rules? Naturally, many students did, but we still benefited from them. I never had to find a place to sleep while my roomie entertained a boyfriend, or left a shower in my robe to run into a guy in the hallway. I felt safe and enjoyed the company of other women, until the PA system would call down a happy girl who had a caller. We could focus on study, with no one to flirt with at 'home'. And if we needed to study with guys, there was a great library and coffee shop.
I remember studying for my Methods and Materials of Literary Analysis final with some friends in the library till it closed at midnight, and continuing our studies over pancakes at Bickfords. We had plenty of healthy interactions with men, but when we needed to have our privacy, we could. I'm so sorry this opportunity will be lost for many students at St. Anselm's College. I hope they will reconsider, and preserve their Catholicity.