Week of August 25-31
Roberta Bailey, OSB, Benedictine Sisters of Florida
A Reflection on Work
Next weekend our nation will celebrate Labor Day. Strangely we honor it by the opposite of its name. In many respects it is a Workers’ Holiday. Labor Day was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894. Since then each year on the first Monday in September we pay tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. You may also know about the celebrations to honor employees on May 1, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. Here in our monastery we host our employees at special Thank You Luncheon in gratitude for their services and presence. The day is topped off with early release time. They disappear after lunch – it’s a paid half-day. That includes the cook for the evening meal. (Oh, dear!) Thankfully we have a long-time association with some loyal volunteers who take over the kitchen to provide a home-prepared fish fry with our favorite Southern trimmings: grits with butter or cheese, hush puppies, coleslaw and ice cream novelty bars for dessert; beer or soft drinks. God bless them everyone!
So, in honor of all workers, even the tiniest among us, let’s talk a bit about workers and work styles. We often hear the expression “a little child shall lead.” With the opening of a new school year and Labor Day weekend fast upon us it seems to me fitting that we let little children lead us to a rightful understanding of “work.”
For many years I enjoyed ministry as a Montessori directress in programs for children ages six months to six years. One of the observable differences between children and adults is the contrast between their attitudes toward work.