There's a new sorority at Arizona State University — and it's Catholic. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)
There’s a new sorority at Arizona State University — and it’s Catholic. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

TEMPE — The newest sorority at Arizona State University saw its first pledge class surrender themselves. These 23 young women didn’t submit to stereotypical stunts, however.

Instead, they simply entered the Valley’s oldest church and surrendered in humility at the foot of the altar. The women, who span every class year of ASU students, are the first pledge class of Mu Epsilon Theta’s Gamma Chapter. They were initiated April 20.

The 26-year-old sorority started at the University of Texas at Austin as a way to unite college women by promoting academics, leadership, community service plus moral and spiritual well-being in the Catholic tradition. This marks the third chapter for the sorority and the first out of state.

“It showed us how truly beautiful the sisterhood is by having so many actives and alumni sisters fly in and drive all the way from Texas to initiate us,” said Katie Bandy, president of the Alpha Class of the Gamma Chapter at ASU.

Bandy, a junior at the nation’s largest public university, briefly tried Greek sorority life last year. She left after the first phase of the initiation process.

“I knew it wasn’t for me and I wanted to spend more time here,” she told The Catholic Sun outside of the All Saints Catholic Newman Center.

She apparently wasn’t the only one who wanted to stay grounded in her faith at college. Some 40 women attended a meeting for the sorority in January. More than half — including two alumnae each from Xavier College Preparatory and Seton Catholic Preparatory High School in Chandler — fulfilled the service hours and other requirements necessary to become part of the charter committee and first pledge class.

Bandy said the sorority has already brought “so many girls” to the Newman Center. She said it’s important to have a common spiritual element within a sorority because it’s within that faith community that sisters can best build each other up.

“By having our faith be the foundation of our sisterhood we have created virtuous friendships that will lead women to strive for excellence and always have someone to lean on when hardships come,” Bandy said.

Her online search for such a sorority last August ultimately got her in touch with Rosa Marroquin, chairman of the sorority’s national board of directors. Then she learned that Anna Brzozowski, a missionary assigned to ASU through the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, is a Mu Epsilon Theta alumna. The snowball kept rolling.

The sorority focuses on spirituality, sisterhood and service and declares, “Our Strength is from Above” in its motto. St. Catherine Labouré, promulgator of the miraculous medal, is its patron saint.

“It was very important in my life and my decision to become a missionary,” said Brzozowski, who graduated from Texas State University last year.

“So many women desire the sisterhood, but they never find it. This is a group of women who are strong in their faith, who are going to build each other up in a Christ-like way,” Brzozoswki said.

Those are the kind of friendships Maggie Otlewski sought after graduating from Xavier last year. She loved that the members are so different yet united in faith and values.

Every ASU student who is a member of Mu Epsilon Theta attends Mass regularly and prays the rosary. Each member is also involved in a FOCUS-led Bible study. The women attended a recent sacred relics exhibit too as part of the sorority’s spirituality pillar.

The women financially support and volunteer at Maggie’s Place, a network of homes for women who are pregnant and without a system of support.

Mu Epsilon Theta is still submitting its bylaws and will be finished in the fall semester. Growth is a priority for the sorority at the national level — five chapters in five years.

An additional 15 Catholic women joined the sorority’s Beta Chapter at Texas State University last weekend. They were the 20th class to pledge their fidelity.