True Confession of a Survivor of an All-Girls Dorm!

St. Thomas More Hall, an all-girls residence hall, just off the Piazza dei Santi, at FUS

… No, not me.

A pseudonymous graduate from Franciscan University of Steubenville noticed the law suit against Catholic University of America regarding their reversion to single-sex dorms. The suit prompted her to share her story of the impact living in an all-girls dorm had on a girl who grew up with a bunch of brothers but no sisters.

She went from no makeup, rough and tumble, playing sports with the boys, and not knowing that girls shoes, hair accessories, and underthings come in many varieties, to knowing all those things and valuing deeply the lessons all her new sisters taught her—lessons that would have been compromised, if not completely impossible, if boys were present 24/7.

Same sex-dorms, with rules designed to protect the virtue of all within, allow a natural part of growing up to blossom.  Taking that pressure off of young people, they are now free to focus on growing up and developing healthy and holy friendships.  Our sex obsessed culture has lost the ability to teach our young to build these friendships that not only stand the test of time but may kick our sorry butts into Heaven as well.  Those friendships — built up while living together, sharing, loving unconditionally, arguing and forgiving —  teach powerful life lessons that we miss when the opportunity is not given.

To quote from a chastity talk (then FUS president) Fr. Mike Scanlon [sic] gave to freshmen:  “If you do not have healthy, holy, inter-dependent relationships with people of your same sex, you are not ready to date.”  If you are so focused on boys or distracted by their constant presence you have not the free time, or maybe even the inclination, to build those friendships.   And you miss the gift of having those friends build you.

Just so.

I recommend the entire humorous article.



  • Lucy

    I’m sure happy that this woman learned all about make-up and various varieties of women’s clothing. What a terrible lonely life she would have lived without the knowledge such things. What next, cooking and house-cleaning classes?

    • Tom Crowe

      Way to miss the point, Lucy. Do you practice at that?

  • Vincent

    I see a lot of value in single sex dorms, however I have to take issue with most of the first half of what the author of this piece wrote. True femininity has nothing at all to do with make-up, or owning an inordinate number of shoes, or being able to coordinate trendy outfits. Our culture tries to snare girls into the cult of beauty from the moment they are born. (Even baby clothes send these messages: “Cutie Pie” on the onesie for the baby girl, and “Future MVP” on the onesie for the baby boy. Also listen to the sorts of comments people make to babies: “Hi, pretty girl” vs. “Hi, tough guy”.) This only gets worse as they start to grow up and girls are bombarded in every form of media with the messages that (1)appearance is of supreme importance, (2) you don’t look good enough the way you are, and (3) we have a product (clothes, cosmetics, etc.) that will make people admire the way you look. Our girls are taught the vices of vanity, overconsumption, and envy, and are told that it is a crucial part of their value and identity as women. Catholics should be rejecting this kind of thinking, not embracing it. I know a young Catholic woman who worked at a store owned by an Amish family. After working there for a summer with a bunch of young Amish women she said she had learned so much from these girls who don’t wear make-up or trendy clothes or obsess about their appearance 24/7. Yes, we should reject the modern idea that there is no difference between the sexes. But in rejecting that false notion we shouldn’t embrace our culture’s very skewed vision of sexual identity.

    • Tom Crowe

      Vincent— I think you over state your case. I don’t think you can credibly make the claim that the author thinks true femininity is dependent upon these things, or that she is fundamentally altering her sexual identity by learning about makeup and shoes and hair accessories. There is an undeniable feminine quality to knowing how to present herself as beautiful, and do those things that accentuate her natural beauty; that bespeak her natural feminine radiance. There is a definite difference between learning about such things and having a skewed notion of sexual identity, and I’m fairly confident that the author stayed safely on the right side of that dividing line.

  • Whitney

    I have read about “Catholic” colleges with coed dorms, and some colleges with coed rooms (Heaven forbid). Same-sex dorms are a minimum requirement for appropriateness, but why is there not a push toward same-sex campuses? There would be no threat of premarital relations as all opposite-gender visitors would be banned from residence halls. No sex = better grades, better people, and purer souls. Males would grow up surrounded by males instead of becoming feminized, and females would learn to better appreciate the values and responsibilities that come with being a woman. Many schools used to be single-gender but with the liberalization of society, we have lost this. It’s time for the Catholic Church to bring it back.

    • Francis

      I suppose if a girl at an all female school wanted to have sex with a boy, they could (theoretically) go to a motel, or a car, or something like that. And I suppose that people at single sex schools might also run into a higher percentage of gay students who might actually be drawn to a single sex school because of the possibility of meeting others who also experience homosexual tendencies. Still, I much prefer single sex dorms whether they are on Catholic school campuses or state school campuses.

  • Mark

    I too went to a small Christian school with seperate floors for men and women, with visiting hours that were fairly liberal. Looking back and after reading this young ladies article I am curious as to what campus would have been like if they had same sex dorms and tighter controls on visiting. I grew up with one sister, a brother who was 16 when I was born and visited from time to time, in addition to not having a lot of close friends if any as child. All this makes me curious if a same sex dorm would have been positive experience for me.

  • Katheirne

    I went to a small Christian college for my first two years. I can honestly say, that the experience of living in an all-girls dorm, with restricted male visiting (to basement living room and parlor) was a dream. THough I did not finish school there and have since become Catholic, my dorm experience was one I hope my children will have as well. There is a sense of camaraderie that cannot be emulated when the opposite sex is present all the time. I highly recommend it.

  • Davide

    Good stuff. Thank you



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