Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 3, 2006
Kateri House lodges women
St. Joe's female students can live on campus this fall
- WCR photo by Bill Glen
St. Joseph College students Ugo Nzekwe, left and Angela Bokenfohr say Kateri House's opening is sparking great enthusiasm.
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
For 80 years, St. Joseph's College on the U of A campus has been a Catholic post-secondary education facility and men's residence. That mission will expand this fall when Kateri House opens its doors to 14 women in the HUB Mall.
University of Alberta residential services and St. Joseph's College collaborated so the women could take over one complete "stairwell" of HUB, occupying two bachelor suites, two two-bedroom and two four-bedroom apartments.
"We will start there for our first year and hopefully we will get enough funding for our own building in the future," said Ugo Nzekwu, associate director of St. Joseph's residence. Nzekwu will be looking after Kateri House.
"This is a first step towards building a women's residence. I think the ultimate plan is to have a women's residence equivalent to the men's residence."
Although the two houses will be under the college's umbrella abiding by the same code of conduct set out by the board of governors, they are physically separate entities.
"Because we will live in apartment-style housing, we will have a bit more independence than the men's residence. But the same rules apply respecting the Catholic values and traditions," Nzekwu said.
The idea for a women's residence has been in the works for several years.
Sister Bonnie Moser was on the planning committee that identified and addressed a variety of issues to bring the residence to fruition.
"There has been an openness to having the residence, but it has taken awhile getting it off the ground," said Moser, a member of the Faithful Companions of Jesus. "There are a lot of women who enjoy everything that St. Joe's offers."
Nzekwu said many women who study at the college and who participate in Mass and campus clubs would like to feel a more significant part of the community. Talk of Kateri House has generated much enthusiasm.
"It has been great for the (60) men who live here - for their study and worship," she said. "There seems to be a lot of excitement among the women. Even for the ones who have other places to live, they want to get involved with the activities planned for the residence."
Kateri House will be home to Catholic women who desire to openly live and express their faith. Prayer and worship sessions will be part of their daily lives.
"It can be a place for formation," Nzekwu said.
Angela Bokenfohr will serve as the resident life assistant in charge of daily activities.
"It is an amazing opportunity in terms of opening up our faith community," said Bokenfohr, a third-year psychology student. "Our community is strong, but I think this is for the larger diocese because it is unique."
Kateri House is the first women's residence affiliated with the college. Nzekwu said it is a big step forward for the college to recognize and meet the need.
While Kateri House is "a work in progress" at this point, activities being considered are a 24-hour retreat and potluck dinners once a month. There will be a four-member, in-house committee looking after a budget and activities during the school year.
The Catholic Women's League sent out letters to its members asking what they thought the house should be named. A selection committee reviewed the responses and made a recommendation to the board.
"It was an opportunity for women to get involved with the CWL and to hopefully have an interest in the residence," Moser said.
HUB has laundry services and a "grocery bus" every month to buy food.
The unusual layout will offer its own intrinsic benefits.
Kateri House is taking applications on a first-come, first-served basis. There are currently seven openings.
For more information contact Cam Macdonell at 492-7681 (ext. 248).