The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Labor of love: Sharefest volunteers spruce up Carmelite monastery

Published: November 19, 2011   
Heather Strojek
Volunteers clean up outside the San Jose House at Marylake Monastery Nov. 5 as part of the Sharefest day of service. More than 150 people participated.

For more than 10 years, Sharefest has served as a way for the faithful to serve in the Little Rock area by rolling up their sleeves and evangelizing through a bit of hard work.

More than 150 volunteers from parishes in Pulaski County came to Marylake Monastery outside Little Rock Nov. 5 to rejuvenate the grounds and buildings of the 60-year-old Carmelite monastery.

"The Carmelite priests and brothers were so gracious to allow us to invade their quiet pastoral setting for an 'extreme makeover'...Catholic style," said Sandy Decoursey, parish life and outreach at Christ the King Church in Little Rock.

Volunteers gave the chapel, kitchen, parlor, guest bathroom and recreational room a fresh coat of paint and shined the windows. Flowerbeds outside the chapel were given a sprucing up and some new flowers. The retreat houses were also freshened up. The grounds were cleared up of pine needles and the waterfall was cleaned to flow.

For some, this was their first time coming to a Sharefest event. Elizabeth Cline, a member of Christ the King Church, said it was a great way to give the back to the community. For others it was a family event.

"In years past we were not able to do Sharefest because of my son's football. This year we were able to come back. It is something for us to do as a family, to help and give back to the community," Cindy Evans, another Christ the King member, said.

Decoursey said, "It would be my hope that the 'take-away' from the … experience would be the incredible amount of work that can be accomplished where many hands and hearts take on a labor of love." The friars were grateful for the transformation.

Marylake superior Father Sam Morello, OCD, said, "In my almost 50 years of priesthood, I've never seen anything like this."

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