A group of Christendom students traveled up to Fairfield, Pennsylvania, this past week on a Saturday morning to help the cloistered Fairfield Carmelites have enough firewood for the winter.

One of the cloistered nuns reached out to the wife of Christendom’s Vice President for Enrollment, Tom McFadden, to see if any students would be able and willing to make the trip to assist the sisters. The cloistered nuns live on a large property in Fairfield, surrounded by woods, which the nuns rely on to have enough firewood for the winter months. While they had many downed trees and a pile of delivered, unsplit wood, they had no one who could cut and chop the firewood for them.

Rather than sleep in on their Saturday morning, 8 students traveled two hours by van up to Fairfield on February 11 with chainsaws and log splitters to help the nuns. Working with staff member Zachary Wendt, students labored continuously for hours at two different sites, managing to split the downed trees and the rest of the wood before heading back to Christendom in the early afternoon.

“All of the students were very meritorious in their efforts and I wouldn’t have been able to complete what [the nuns] were requesting without their help,” says Wendt. “I was originally thinking it was going to be just me and [my friend and local parishioner] Ed Farinholt, and we had more volunteers than seats by the end of the week.”

Why did the students choose to do this act of service, rather than spend their Saturday on campus? According to sophomore Mark Taylor, he wanted to give back to the Fairfield Carmelites after all they have done and continue to do in providing spiritual assistance to the Church.

“I was introduced to the Fairfield Carmelites this past summer when I visited their property with a group of friends,” says Taylor. “While visiting for Holy Mass, which was in the traditional Carmelite rite, I was struck by the beautiful simplicity and deep spirituality of the contemplative Carmelite lifestyle. I know that contemplative religious orders provide invaluable spiritual assistance to our Church, which is undergoing so many trials in this current day. When I heard they needed assistance chopping wood, I was eager to drop everything to go help them, and so I did.”

Sophomore Monica LaFramboise had visited the Fairfield Carmelites before and wanted to assist them, joining her fellow students in performing this act of charity.

For sophomore Monica LaFramboise, she was inspired to go by her former roommate, who was in love with the Fairfield Carmelites community. LaFramboise had visited their community before and wanted to assist them.

“I’ve been hauling wood for as long as I can remember and have also done my fair share of splitting as well,” says LaFramboise. “I’ve grown up working outside my whole life and really miss it. As exhausting as it is, I love hard physical labor, particularly when I get to connect with nature as well. It makes me go outside of myself and is so fulfilling. It’s even better when it’s an act of charity to help support someone else.”

For Christendom students, using their valuable weekend time to help others is not out of the ordinary. Every Saturday morning during the academic year, a group of students travel into Northern Virginia to prayerfully protest abortion outside of a Planned Parenthood clinic. Others volunteer at a homeless shelter in Front Royal, Virginia, while still more assist at the Front Royal Pregnancy Center.

See what other Works of Mercy student perform throughout the academic year here.

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