Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Pontipee Brothers & Franciscan University

I recently watched Seven Brides for Seven Brothers for the first time in a few years. As it often happens when I re-watch movies that I haven't seen for a great length of time, I had unexpected takeaways from the experience. Many people could focus on the energetic song-and-dance numbers in this film. Other people choose to analyze the misogynistic elements, particularly in light of our modern society.  

However, I found myself thinking about my time at Franciscan University of Steubenville. 

No, there weren't groups of backwoods men who abducted women, oodles of cute farm animals, or big barn dances. But, as I watched Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, I began noticing some themes or events from the movie (besides the long skirts) that bear similarities to many things that I observed during my time on campus. 

When the Pontipee Brothers visit the town, we see a glimmer of the culture shock that some men go through when they become Franciscan University students.
Those freshman boys just thought they'd innocently smoke
in front of Francis Hall with Fr. Don Frinkso and talk Theology...
until a group of girls came strolling by on their way to lunch! 
During my first or second year at FUS, I was speaking with a friend who remarked to me that it was so hard to figure out who he wanted to date-because there were so many amazing women! I guess for some men, walking onto a campus that has a very off-balanced girl-to-guy ratio is a bit mind-blowing, especially when you toss "baby loving" and "devout" into the mix.

Just as Millie brings the women together by announcing her pregnancy, anytime a baby shows up on campus, the majority of surrounding females will forget any disagreements or differences that they have and gravitate together towards the child. 

Babies: The great peacemakers of the world.

Some people emphasize the importance of discernment leading to action. 
"If you're so sweet on those girls, why don't you do something about it?" 
#NoFearNovember, anyone? 

Even though they may have weak moments, many girls will still stick up for their values and standards. 
"He's gotta learn that he can't treat people this way."
"I'm getting out of here. Going up to the Trapper's Cabin
to wait out the winter." 
And the chastised men go off  for some self-reflection to the Portiuncula...or to the depths of  Trinity Hall, Living Stones wing. 

The Barn Raising scene is just a Household Service Project-meets-Household Olympics event. 

Complete with blood, sweat, intense competition, and triumphant cheers. 

Milly Pontipee, R.D. extraordinaire. 
She breaks up quarrels...

Enforces Visiting Policies in the dorms...
"This house is for the girls!"
And encourages the drinking of tea. 
"Nothing like a nice, hot cup of tea when you're tuckered out."
Gideon goes through the experience of walking in on that awkward couple when you're innocently trying to find a common room during those cold Fall and Winter months.

It inevitably will happen at some point during the four years you spend on campus. 
Have fun! 

But, you know that once springtime arrives, couples will flood outside. 
(Though instead of gazing at the Ohio River, the couples are more
likely to be gazing at each other...or at the multitude of Frisbees that
fly across campus.) 
As noticeable as the increase of allergies and semester projects, the exodus of couples from Common Rooms to the Great Outdoors is one of the sure signs of springtime in Steubenville!

However, Adam wants to remind us all that we need some physical boundaries...

And don't forget to turn on the Chastity Light while you're at it! 

Finally, in bathrooms, bedrooms, and  hallways by the dorm chapels, countless women bond as they discuss their hopes and vocations. 

Welcome to life in a girls' dorm! 


  1. While I didn't go to Franciscan (both my younger sibs did) I love this! Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is one of my most favorite musicals of all time!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed this, Patty! That's so neat-I grew up on this musical and enjoy it a lot (perhaps it is partially due to the fact that my mom watched it all the time when she was pregnant with me?).

  2. This is awesome! Now I want to watch it again.

    1. You should! I'm sure your girls would love it, too!

  3. Funny timing on this, our friend Megs was just in a production of this at a local church, so I saw the stage adaptation (I prefer the movie, but Adam has a nice additional song in the stage version). This production stated that each of the brothers represented one of the 7 sins, and each of the brides represented one of the 7 virtues. It was interesting!

    1. Haha! That is interesting timing! Wow, that's a really fascinating take on things; next time I watch this, I'll have to see if I can try and pinpoint aspects for the characters that could put them in those categories!

  4. Um, I can't believe I STILL haven't seen this movie! I'll have to get it from the library next time I'm there!

    1. Do it, Christina! It's a lot of fun to watch, though the music has a tendency to get stuck in one's head for great lengths of time, which can be both good and bad ;)