Editor’s note: DC Service Corps volunteer, Fede Wettstein, discusses his experience living in the Casa with fourteen other women. With gratitude, he reflects on the fruits of this experience getting to grow closer to God.

“Are you okay living with fourteen women and being the only man in the Casa?” 

My fellow Casa residents take turns to ask me this question every couple of days. The mere fact that they bother to ask me this question speaks volumes of the caring space that a predominantly female community can foster. If I were one of fourteen men living with only one woman would we bother to ask her that question? Would we be emotionally smart enough to do so? 

The fourteen women I live with have a heightened capacity for care and relational tenderness. After having most of my Catholic formation at an all-boys Catholic school where God was conceived as essentially masculine, these women help me every day to discover God’s “feminine” attributes. 

However, they also display attributes traditionally associated with “manhood”. These women are providers, protectors, and leaders. They have the best of both worlds; they are the embodiment of a healthy balance. And you know what? I also want the best of both worlds. 

Growing up as the older brother, I was often told to look after my two sisters. Unfortunately, far from being taught about emotional intelligence or empathy, this protective role looked more like learning not to cry in front of them, being overprotective, and beating up whoever was being too smart with my sisters. 

I do not want to be that brother anymore. Nor do I want to be that son, husband, or father either. Instead, I want to be a protector while fostering a space for tenderness and empathy; I want to be a leader and a provider while embracing vulnerability. 

I believe that from our inherently imperfect human condition, we are called to strive every day to be more God-like. And God is the perfect balance of the masculine and the feminine. In God, this distinction does not even exist. Why do we care about it so much then? 

“Are you okay living with fourteen women and being the only man in the Casa?” 

Yes, my fellow Casa residents, I am. If only you all knew that I am far beyond okay; I am in my element. Living in a house with fourteen strong, loving, smart, and caring women fills me with joy and helps me to become a better man, one day at a time.