Catholic college revives medieval-style guilds

Catholic college revives medieval-style guilds


This is pretty neat. Thomas More College in New Hampshire is establishing medieval-style guilds for its students, pairing them as apprentices and journeymen to master craftsmen in various disciplines such as baking, woodworking and cabinetry, sacred art. They will create projects for the college as a guild—a new wooden altar for the chapel, for example—as well as individual projects, like bookcases. They will also engage in corporal and spiritual works of mercy: the baking guild will make bread for local homeless shelters, for instance. The idea is formation of the whole person, spiritually, academically, physically, and culturally. Working with your hands is a counter-balance to the ivory tower tendencies of academic and intellectual pursuits.

“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.”

I have to admit this is pretty cool. I would have loved to have been in a baking guild while studying for my theology degree at Franciscan University. What better pursuit for one who studies the Bread of Heaven at a school infused the spirit of St. Francis than to bake bread and distribute it to the poor? I hope other schools follow suit.

Photo by Matthew Byrne -

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli