Cell 91 is a college-level chastity club that bases it’s intellectual formation and apostolic work on the writings of Pope John Paul II, particularly Love and Responsibility and Theology of the Body. As a priest and bishop, the late Holy Father spent countless hours with college students and young married couples. Through those deep friendships and rich pastoral experiences, he gained profound insights into human love. In 1978, after the death of Pope John Paul I, he was called to Rome to meet with the College of Cardinals in order to select the new pope. During the conclave of a papal election, cardinals live in small rooms, or cells, adjacent to the Sistine chapel. Prior to his election in 1978, John Paul II emerged from Cell 91. It could be said that this humble room was a passageway between his life as a student of human love and his life as a global teacher of all that he had learned. The mission of Cell 91 today is to promote authentic human love and the virtue of chastity primarily through the lens of Pope John Paul II’s work.
How do I get started?
Contact friends who would be interested in the club. Then, check if your college has requirements for starting a student organization. If your campus requires that your club have an advisor, try to select an enthusiastic priest, deacon, nun, religion teacher, or campus minister. Let the person know that the time commitments for him or her will be minimal, and that you’re looking for someone to provide occasional input, motivation, and prayer support. If you find a deacon or priest, he may be able to offer adoration, Mass, or Communion service for the club.
How do I get others to join?
Advertise the club. If there is a Mass on campus, ask the priest if you can make an announcement after it. Place ads for your first meeting in the church if your college is Catholic, or in the Newman center if you have one. Use any bulletin board where flyers are placed, or write an ad or article in the university newspaper. Advertisers recommend using an eye-catching headline in all CAPS, keeping the ad simple, using bullet points for flyers, using endorsement quotes, and putting it in a high-traffic area.
College life tends to be filled with commitments and activities, so do not be discouraged if the club needs to start small. It is better to have five committed members who understand the urgency of promoting purity than fifty members who join for superficial reasons. The level of interest will probably be the opposite of the level of need. In other words, regardless of how many people show up, there is still a tremendous need for the work of the club.
What are the different offices within the club?
• The Advisor is an adult who will oversee the club, as mentioned above.
• The President will direct each meeting, and guide the club to accomplish their projects.
• The Vice-President will stand in place of the President when he/she is absent, and assist the President in all club activities. The VP will also keep track of any funds obtained though fundraising, donations, etc.
What will the meetings consist of?
The first meeting should include an explanation of the club’s mission and purpose. It is preferable that the advisor be present at this first meeting, to share a few words of encouragement. The president of the club should give an example of some of the projects that can be accomplished, and brainstorm with the club as to which one should be accomplished first. Before ending, schedule the next meeting and get the contact information for each student. Each meeting should include:
1. Prayer: To begin each meeting, pray a Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament in your chapel. Make sure to pray for the students on your campus. If Eucharistic adoration is available, make use of this as often as possible. If certain club members are speaking about chastity in a classroom or retreat, make sure other members are interceding in adoration at that same time.
2. Formation: Promote chastity within the club. For example:
- Watch and discuss a 30-minute video from “The Pure Life” or “Freedom to Love.”
- Discuss a section from books such as: Love and Responsibility, Good News About Sex and Marriage, Male and Female He Created Them, or Men, Women, and the Mystery of Love.
- Break into male/female groups to address specific issues.
- Create accountability partners. A partner is someone who will specifically pray for you and will help you stay strong. Partners should not be co-ed.
3. Apostolic work: Decide which project will be launched next. Click here for a list of projects.
Not all meetings need to be formal. Social time for hanging out, pizza, games, etc… is essential.
Can the club be affiliated with an existing school organization or club?
Yes. If your campus already has a similar club, such as a pro-life or campus ministry club, you could merge your mission with theirs (if they wish).
How often is the club required to meet?
This is for each club to decide. Some clubs find it helpful to meet monthly, while others prefer bi-weekly or weekly meetings. To be a member, each person should maintain a chaste lifestyle, and attend the meetings.