US college relaunches workers guilds

posted 27 Jul 2010, 18:58 by Stefan Gigacz
The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts of Merrimack, New Hampshire, has announced that it has established a series of medieval-style Catholic guilds that will enable its students to gain skills and experience from master craftsmen in areas such as woodworking, sacred art, music, and baking. 

Thomas More College’s guilds will take its spirit from the associations of men and women who advanced their trades and responded to the needs of their local communities in the Medieval Age, the college says in a statement. 

“Catholic guilds flourished during medieval Europe, but by the Nineteenth Century they had all but disappeared,” said Thomas More College president William Fahey. “Guilds in its earliest form were developed out of man’s natural spirit of association. The Catholic Church took medieval guilds under its tutelage and infused into them the vivifying spirit of Christian charity.” 

Thomas More College’s guilds will operate with the same level of community and charity, the college says. 

“Not only will students learn skills they can use throughout their lives,” said Dr. Fahey, “they will have an opportunity to bake bread for the homeless, produce icons for local churches, create chairs, cribs, and other projects for the poor and needy in our community, and bring music to nursing homes and hospitals.” 

Thomas More College also expects that its guilds will enhance religious life on campus. This fall, for example, students in the woodworking guild will build a new altar for the College’s chapel, while students in the sacred art guild will produce religious art that will hang on the chapel walls. Students in the music guild will be trained to chant and produce sacred music for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 

The newly established Catholic guilds at Thomas More College are also designed to play a key role in the development of its students. 

“In many ways, our guilds will show students how to live,” added Thomas More College director of admissions Mark Schwerdt. “Students will now have confidence that they can fix their own furniture or make music with their family. They will learn how the common man can create works of art as well as how to balance work, family, and leisure—all while enhancing their ability to be creative.” 

“Thomas More College is preparing its students for a life of self-sufficiency,” said Mr. Schwerdt. 

Each guild will meet weekly and will be taught by a master craftsman who has spent his life perfecting the skills of his trade. 

The guilds will include woodworking, sacred art and music.

“I hope that many of our students will advance in their development of these skills over time so they can teach—or apprentice—new incoming students each year,” said Dr. Fahey. “I would expect nothing less from our students, all of whom operate with an intense desire to learn and engage others with a spirit of charity and humility.” 


Thomas More College Establishes Catholic Medieval Guilds (Thomas More College)