University of Dallas students, faculty and friends are encouraged to participate in Clear Creek Abbey’s Annual Work Day on March 3. The abbey’s monks are Benedictines of the Solesmes Congregation, whose members dedicate their entire lives to contemplative prayer with a particular emphasis on the solemn, public celebration of the liturgy and liturgical office.
Over 400 supporters of the abbey join together annually to complete tasks that the monks are unable to complete because of the rigors of their contemplative life. Participants build fences, burn brush, plant trees, fix roads, repair and refurbish buildings and much more.
The abbey is situated on a beautiful, wooded 1,000-acre rural property in Northeastern Oklahoma, about five hours from UD. Last year, around 15 UD students and faculty carpooled to the abbey to participate.
UD alumnus Paul Sampson described the experience as a “working retreat.”
“When you’re there, you really feel like you’re out of the world, out of the stress and the city and the noise,” he said. “It’s so far from the city that you can see every star at night.”
He added, “It’s hard work, but you never do work like that at UD. You’re always sitting at a desk or shuffling papers. It’s such a nice change of pace to be out there sweating and planting trees for this beautiful abbey.”
History professor Dr. Thomas Jodziewicz, who has participated in the event for years, said that “Vespers with the monks on Saturday is wonderful after the workday. It is a delightful event.”
Participants may also spend the night in guesthouses if they make prior reservations. On Sunday morning, they can attend Mass in side chapels.
As Sampson said, “It was just me and two other UD students, five feet from the priest as he said a beautiful Latin mass in a little stone chapel.”
As Jodziewicz explained, “The Saturday event also features a lavish barbecue luncheon for all participants.” According to Sampson, the pies served at the barbeque were so incredible that Jodziewicz has been trying to get some of them shipped to Irving ever since the event last year.
Those interested in participating in the all-day event should email Dr. Jodziewicz at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://www.clearcreekmonks.org/event-calendar.html. Students will be able to find a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board outside the cafeteria for arranging carpools.