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Working on the Virtues at Work Camp

by Matthew Chartier

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This May, the College I and College II seminarians (which included me) went to Camp Sancta Maria in Gaylord, Michigan, to prepare the Catholic youth camp for the summer. This annual formation experience is informally called Work Camp.

Under the guidance of Fr. Robert Spezia, the camp director, we learn handy skills such as working with different tools and building different things. This year, for example, we built new wood shelving units for the residential cabins. Work camp is all about making and doing things as if you were doing it for Jesus, because whatever you make or do for others you are making and doing for Jesus.

I grew in generosity this spring as most of the guys do at Camp Sancta Maria. We learn exactly what St. Ignatius of Loyola means in his Pray of Generosity: Lord, teach me to serve you as you deserve; to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed wounds, to toil and not seek rest, to labor and not ask for reward, save that of knowing that I do your will.

We learn the virtue of generosity while painting, sanding, digging, lifting, and scraping. It is important this work gets done so that the kids and counselors can receive an amazing summer with clean, organized, and enjoyable recreation areas and cabins.

The end of our labor is not seenbut the importance stays, because the work of the counselors changes lives.

Along with teaching us about generosity, Father Spezia teaches us how to love. Father says that mastering the virtue of love requires working and living together. Work Camp tests the virtue of love as we live and work together in very close quarters, but we grow together as brothers the harder we work together.

Work Camp taught us as our entire seminary formation program teaches u—that the most important lesson is loving one another and working for, and towards, our truest love, who is Jesus.

Matthew Chartier

Matthew Chartier is entering his third year of undergraduate studies for the Diocese of Marquette.

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Sacred Heart Major Seminary is a Christ-centered Catholic community of faith and higher learning committed to forming leaders who will proclaim the good news of Christ to the people of our time. As a leading center of the New Evangelization, Sacred Heart serves the needs of the Archdiocese of Detroit and contributes to the mission of the universal Church.