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The Dignity of Work
U. S. A. | NEWS | NEWS
Legionary brothers participate in the ‘common law of labor’


Labor Day has come and gone, reminding us once again of the value and dignity of work. As John Paul II wrote in Centesimus Annus, “Work thus belongs to the vocation of every person; indeed, man expresses and fulfills himself by working” (#6).

The Legionaries of Christ take these words to heart in a unique way, remembering Saint Benedict of Nursia’s maxim that ruled the life of the first monks and has since inspired the ‘spirituality of work,’ especially in religious life: Ora et labora. Deus adest sine mora (Work and pray. God will help without delay). Over the summer, Legionary centers of novitiate and humanities have had a period of months or weeks of work. According to the Constitutions of the Legion, the purpose of this time is to understand the value of work, to enhance one’s natural qualities, to strengthen the will, to develop responsibility, and to have “the opportunity to strive to faithfully preserve union with God in the active life” (cf. #51, 1).

The Center of Humanities in Cheshire, CT held the week of work at the end of June. The brothers worked on projects that they themselves had suggested in the preceding months, all of which were aimed at improving various parts of the house.

Since many of the tasks
involved an economic investment, the brothers took charge of asking family and friends for financial support to carry them out; this had the added benefit of presenting another facet of Legionary formation to families and acquaintances. The brothers constructed three retaining walls in the entrance, remodeled the reception area, repaired the ceiling, painted the pantry, and renovated the visitors’ bathrooms.

Novitiate and the period of humanities are not the only moments of manual work in religious life; number 277 of the Constitutions indicates that everyone should “feel subject to the common law of labor.” This ‘common law’ reminds us, as St. Paul said to “be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).



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