Sunday, May 5, 2013

Community Incarnated

For the past several years I have been writing on here about the desire for community. It is an interior desire that is shared by all people, but especially by young Catholics of our generation. We have grown up without community for the most part. Many of us have attended Catholic colleges and gotten a taste for what life would be like amongst like-minded folks. Yet, when we left the cafeterias and dormitories of our alma mater then we were thrown into the modern whirlpool of the mess that we now call modern "civilization." Here we often found ourselves far from others of like mind. We often felt trapped by a mountain of debt from the same alma mater we left, and alienated from civilization because we plan to overtake the world by practing our faith unashamedly. Well, yesterday, here on our Fiat Farm we truly lived out community.

Yesterday, five men got together to put up a greenhouse. I suppose it was not unlike the many barn raisings that once happened in this same country. My hands are still stained dark from the grease used to put swedged ends together, they ache from two days of sledge hammer use, and they are covered with knicks and cuts from various things. Yet, in my heart is a feeling of deep satisfaction. Amongst our rag-tag crew were my brother-in-law, two friends who also desire the farm life, and our 70+ year old landlord who happened to have come in from New Mexico and wanted to get his hands dirty. I hope I can work like him at his age. My two friends both have children and our home was bustling with the activity of children and mothers busily taking care of things. It was a beautiful sight to behold, and one that it is unlikely to have happened here since 1958 when the last of the buildings on this farmstead were constructed. Even then, most of that building was probably put up by machinery with little help from neighbors. However, the rest of the barns and outbuildings were built in the 20's and 30's. I imagine quite a few participated in these raisings at the time.

My landlord has told me stories about get togethers on Sunday afternoons at this farm. It was common for a large group of families to gather here for social time and and football games in the front yard. I hope someday that again we will see such gatherings on lazy Sunday afternoons, along with more gatherings for barn raisings and such.

We did most all of our work yesterday by hand. We did use elecricity for an air compressor and cut-off tool, but mostly we just worked. I have thought of the impact of machinery on such get-togethers. When suddenly a tractor could replace 10 men then it wasn't necessary to have a raising any longer. Now, with the lack of community these machines are often necessary, but they created their own need. They have become an idol that have created their own worship. But I digress....

It was beautiful to see a crew of men working together on the land here in St. Leo, KS. It is beautiful to think that possibly someday we will have such a group living in the area. It will be a slow process, but it is beautiful. We didn't finish the greenhouse. Sometimes it is slow going with such building, but we did the most difficult parts together. Now, my brother-in-law and I will be able to finish it without too much trouble. I hope this is just the first of many such gatherings and a foretaste of future community.



Valerie said...

Loved this post. It resonated deeply with me. I just read a fascinating blog about the need for children, but especially BOYS to reconnect with the do manual labor, but not just for the sake of working, but to truly produce something to be useful to others...rather than staying inside connecting only to violent video games. The blogger presented a plethora of ideas for families to get back to the Earth. Although, not a Catholic blogger she is Christian and their family is big in the homesteading movement out West.

Wishing you much success on your future greenhouse building and for your CLM dream to come to fruition.

Anonymous said...


St. Leo will never become suburbia, but look at the goals of planners back in 1939. Interesting.

Needless to say, you've all made the right choice. Both families.

You are in my prayers.