We were blessed to have a large student volunteer group from the College of St Scholastica this past Friday night and Saturday. The students who are on a spring break service trip arrived by bus at 11:00 pm on Friday night—straight from Duluth, Minnesota. After a brief welcome and orientation, the students settled in with their sleeping bags and gear—all over the Gathering Area. Although they knew that breakfast was served starting at 7:00 am the next morning, I understand that many were up until 3:00 or 4:00 am (Youth!). Many attended Morning Prayer on Saturday after which Sisters Mary David, Joanne, and Lynne greeted them. Students split into work groups by 9:00 am and they all gave us their best for 2 ½ hours.
Here’s what they accomplished:
- A very large amount of firewood was split and stacked in the shed (Paul Boutwell, our groundskeeper, was amazed at the amount!).
- 90 40-pound bags of water softener salt were moved to where needed.
- A large footlocker and other large items were moved to where needed.
- Bluebird houses all over the property were cleaned out.
- Apple trees were pruned.
- The grounds were raked, sticks were picked up, and some invasive species were removed.
- The basement floors in the hermitages were swept.
- All indoor windows in the monastery were washed.
- All chairs in the Assembly Room were cleaned and had lint removed.
- Library books and shelves were dusted.
- All baseboards in the monastery were dusted.
- Floors in the lower halls were swept and cleaned.
- Floors in the Dining Room were swept.
As Paul mentioned in his thank you comments to the students, we appreciate the energy and spirit of giving they brought. One of the students was Scottish and, having brought his bagpipes with him, agreed to play some Scottish tunes for us in the Assembly Room before they all got back on the bus. Their tour takes them through Joliet and other stops before they end in Memphis concluding nine days of service work. Many of them thanked us for “letting them come” here and that they enjoyed their work and experience here.
One of the blessings of being the volunteer coordinator at Holy Wisdom Monastery is getting to interact with so many different people and sharing the sisters’ values of hospitality and care for the earth. We are always looking for more volunteers for various projects at the monastery! If you are interested, please contact me at (608) 836-1631 x123 or via email.