A new household, the Sisters of Aquinas, joins a growing number of similar campus organizations this month as part of UST’s alternative to Greek life.
Households at the University provide communities based on shared interests and promote growth in students’ faith.
Sisters of Aquinas was launched this fall by four UST sophomores: Christel Vallagomesa, household leader, Jade Bautista, and co-event (working with both ResLife and the household) representatives Ixzel Amador and Joselinh Suarez.
“For lack of a better word, a household is the Catholic version of what sororities and fraternities are,” Bautista said.
Vallagomesa said the household is centered around the arts, craftsmanship and “giving back [one’s ] creative talents to God.”
Although members pride themselves on artistic creativity, the household also stresses the importance of school and holds members accountable for their studies.
In fact, their very name reflects that mission, according to Bautista. As the officers were brainstorming names for the household, they recalled how Doherty Library and the Chapel of St. Basil stand across the academic mall from each other as a reminder of the dialogue between faith and reason.
Bautista said that Thomas Aquinas, the patron saint and namesake of the University, became a role model for the Sisters. His attempt to reconcile reason and faith became the inspiration for the Sisters of Aquinas.
A prayer of St. Thomas,“Non nisi te Domine / Nothing but you, Lord,” is the household’s motto.
While the household is founded on Catholic teaching, Suarez says members are not required to be Catholic.
Suarez is not Catholic herself, but said she was curious about the faith. In the household, she said she can combine her curiosity with a creative outlet to “release… anxiety and fear.”
Amador, who coordinates the Sisters’ events with the residential assistants in Guinan Hall, said because the household is so new and no officer has prior household experience, they are proceeding through trial and error.
Learning to live in harmony with one another is part of that growing experience.
“Even though there are some difficulties sometimes, we find a way to talk about it… and at the end of the day we all love each other,” Amador said.
Some newfound traditions include going to IHOP on birthdays and other upcoming socials.
“Half of our events are dedicated to social activities and bonding and girl moments,” Suarez said. “The other half is dedicated to growing in your spiritual journey.”
The S.O.A. can be reached at its Instagram address, @sisters_of_aquinas, which also posts updates and future events.