Photo by Lizzie Wagner
Shanice “Kirashani” Kirabo
A new women’s household characterized by living out faith through joy and humor was made official at the household life Mass Friday.
The Jesters of YHWH (JOY) made their official debut after the first household life Mass of the semester. Spearheaded by their lively leader, junior Thérèse Scanlan, the women of JOY are enthusiastic about starting their legacy at Franciscan University of Steubenville.
The formation of the Jesters was originally a joke, an unorthodox beginning fitting to their name. No one was serious about it, Scanlan said. The founders loved to laugh together and suggested they should start a “laughter household” with St. Philip Neri as their patron.
“We can’t start a household on silliness and ‘holy humor,’” Scanlan said she insisted, dismissing the idea as a joke. Despite her attitude towards it, God had other plans. Time after time Scanlan encountered the fruit of the joy of the Spirit.
From prayers said on her behalf through the intercession of St. Philip Neri to attending the “Born of the Spirit” retreat, Scanlan continuously encountered signs pointing her to pursue the idea. By following these signs, she found God leading her to the seemingly impossible future of making the Jesters of YHWH a reality.
With the imagery of their patron St. Philip Neri calling on the Holy Spirit to fill him up, the women of JOY said they hope to emulate humility in the same way and ask for the Holy Spirit to fill them up in all their endeavors. They wish to exhibit joy in all they do, Scanlan said.
St. Lawrence, as well as St. Philip Neri, are the patron saints of JOY. To the Jesters’ surprise, they found that St. Lawrence was the official patron saint for holy humor, while St. Philip Neri was the patron saint for the joy of the Spirit.
Scanlan said that one of their biggest identifiers is the wild goose, a symbol of the Holy Spirit. It represents the aggressive love God expresses toward His children. A goose might not be the most flattering of birds, but in that way the Jesters are reminded to be humble. The women of Jesters household find joy in referring to each other as “silly geese.”
Like her great uncle the Rev. Michael Scanlan, TOR — former president of the university and founder of households on campus — Scanlan also hopes that the silly geese of JOY contribute to the mission of establishing community at Franciscan, especially for any freshmen who might be experiencing loneliness.
The Jesters of YHWH meet for their Lord’s Day on the top floor of Sts. Kolbe and Clare Halls Saturdays at 4 p.m. Here they can be “fools for the sake of Christ,” as emphasized in 1 Corinthians 4:10, and above all commune together in laughter and in joy.