By Celine Klosterman
IOWA CITY — Catholic Ladies in College (CLiC) – the self-described “anti-clique” – is offering a new way for women at the Newman Catholic Student Center to find faith, fun and fellowship.
Since forming in August on the initiative of Liz Schorsch, an undergraduate outreach fellow at the center, the group has welcomed dozens of women to discussions, service activities and social gatherings. Members have taken part in a Habitat for Humanity build, participated in an Out of the Darkness Walk for suicide awareness and prevention, written letters to women undergoing breast cancer treatment, gathered for discussion evenings and held other activities. The women meet a few times a month.
A senior studying history and education policy at the University of Iowa, Schorsch has been involved in the Newman Center since her sophomore year. “I noticed there were so many female students who were hanging out there a lot and doing Bible studies, social justice activities and retreats,” she said. “But there weren’t opportunities like the Knights of Columbus for them to just get to know each other or talk about things specific to women’s lives.”
Schorsch created such an opportunity as part of her role as an undergraduate outreach fellow, who works to bring students to the Newman Center. She calls CLiC the “anti-clique” because of its openness to new members. “After you’re involved in a community for awhile, you start to form your own group of people who you see the most.” Like other ministries, CLiC can help expand Catholics’ social circle.
“It’s a good way to connect with other Catholic women who are going through the same things that I am,” said Therese Pechacek, a sophomore majoring in cinema at the University of Iowa. “We can talk about things that maybe we don’t have an outlet for when we’re with our non-Catholic or male friends.”
For Kate Kraabel, a junior English major, CLiC has made it easier to get to know other girls at the Newman Center. “I also really love the volunteering opportunities,” she said. “We helped out with the Iowa City Habitat for Humanity Women’s Build last month, and a few of us loved it so much, we went back to help out again.”
Schorsch said she also appreciates seeing “the different flavors of religious practice” that group members share. “Lots of girls bring their own backgrounds in terms of what they like about the Church. Some are into Eucharistic adoration, others are into volunteering,” she said.
“CLiC is a good combination of both social events and discussions to talk with other women about things we don’t always get to talk about when it comes to our faith lives,” said Melissa Biestek, a junior majoring in industrial engineering. “I have really enjoyed all the social events just because I have gotten closer to friends I have made at the Newman Center as well as making new friends. When growing in your faith I feel it is a necessity to have a strong community, and this is definitely a great way to build your Catholic community.”