Why A Men's Household


Ever since I started at Penn, I felt like something was missing from my life. Despite my new exciting life at college, there was an empty space, and after a year I realized it was a need for brotherhood, for a group of guys to go through this chapter of my life with. So I decided to join a fraternity, go through pledging, and find a group of true male friends at Penn. But even though I had fifty new brothers and big new house to hang out in after joining, I still felt something was missing. I made great friends in my fraternity, but I was unable to find a direction or deeper meaning in Greek life. After seeing the success of the women’s household in my junior year and all the bonds that were forming there, I realize that brotherhood by itself wasn’t enough. It needed to be a brotherhood in pursuit of something, something greater than what the world can offer. What I really wanted, what I really longed for, what God was really calling me to do during my last year of college, was to be part of a brotherhood in pursuit of Catholic virtue.

After careful prayer and assessment of my life at the time, I reached out and found 4 other men who were seeking the same thing I was. We decided to live together in a Men’s Household. Together, we found an apartment off campus and began our journey together in August. During the past two and a half months, we’ve learned a lot about each other. We’ve shared many meals together, laughed at a lot of Catholic memes, shared out struggles, and watched half of the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender. For me, this has been the first time living with multiple people my age, and it’s been a blast. Amid our stressful lives at Penn, our household has been a place of joy and support.

The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.
— Pope Benedict XVI

At this point, maybe you’re asking, “Okay this sounds like fun, but what makes it different from any apartment full of college guys?” The answer is this: an intentionality to live, work and pray together and get to know God better through each other. We have made household a commitment in our lives. We have time blocked out every week to eat, pray and hang out with each other. We hold each other accountable academically, personally, and spiritually. We’re not just living in the same place; we’re living together.

To all the men out there reading this: Deep in your heart, can you feel the same urge we did? That need for something more than what the rest of the world seems to offer? Take that yearning to God, and see what He wants for you. He only can show you what you truly need. A few months in, we are still discerning what this men’s household will truly be. We’re figuring out the best system for chores, trying to discern a household patron saint, and already looking for another apartment and more brothers to join us next year. Do you feel called? Don’t be afraid to consider the call. It’s been the best decision I’ve made at Penn, and I ask for your prayers as we continue our journey together toward virtue and toward Christ.

Joe Dembik is a senior studying Psychology. He plans on being a guidance counselor. You can reach him at 2152194705 or jdembik@sas.upenn.edu.

Carolyn Shields