Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Builders

By Sr. Whitney Schieltz, SC Federation Apostolic Novice

      Click HERE to learn more about Whitney

      Click HERE to learn more about the SC Federation

Throughout my whole life I've had an affinity for buildings. I love to study them, photograph them, design them. Even as a child I would spend hours on end with my building blocks, sketch books, and eventually computer drafting programs. I can't remember ever wanting to be anything but an architect when I grew up. When I was in college I realized that I was more interested in working with existing buildings and decided to pursue a career in historic preservation. Years later, I am still discerning what ministry will fulfill my passion for buildings and my desire to serve others.

The building I am in charge of renovating.
Now in my apostolic (second) year of novitiate, I have returned to one of the organizations where I previously volunteered (Working In Neighborhoods) to continue exploring a ministry in housing and community development. My main project is the renovation of an empty century-old building that will hopefully provide affordable housing in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Cincinnati. While it is a rather daunting task for me, I am also extremely excited for the opportunity to work hands-on in a field that I have been journeying toward my entire life.

Recently when I was reflecting upon and praying with all this, I came across a poem entitled "The Builders" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. In addition to its obvious architectural imagery, I think it has a beautiful message about how we live our lives. Since I believe the beauty of poetry is its openness to interpretation, I will let you read it for yourself and receive whatever message the Spirit offers you.

The Builders
- by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

All are architects of Fate,
  Working in these walls of Time;
Some with massive deeds and great,
  Some with ornaments of rhyme.

Nothing useless is, or low;
  Each thing in its place is best;
And what seems but idle show
  Strengthens and supports the rest.

For the structure that we raise,
  Time is with materials filled;
Our to-days and yesterdays
  Are the blocks with which we build.

Truly shape and fashion these;
  Leave no yawning gaps between;
Think not, because no man sees,
  Such things will remain unseen.

In the elder days of Art,
  Builders wrought with greatest care
Each minute and unseen part;
  For the Gods see everywhere.

Let us do our work as well,
  Both the unseen and the seen;
Make the house, where Gods may dwell,
  Beautiful, entire, and clean.

Else our lives are incomplete,
  Standing in these walls of Time,
Broken stairways, where the feet
  Stumble as they seek to climb.

Build to-day, then, strong and sure,
  With a firm and ample base;
And ascending and secure
  Shall to-morrow find its place.

Thus alone can we attain
  To those turrets, where the eye
Sees the world as one vast plain,
  And one boundless reach of sky.


  1. it seems so often that what I am doing is not much and I compare it to others that seem grander but verse 2 touched my heart and reassures me to keep on keepin on

  2. Oh, Whitney, how perfect!! Barbara will challenge you and stretch you! What fun and excited to see the results!

  3. Whitney, I’m so proud of you. Thank you for offering your architectural gift in service to others in the area of housing. You are loved and prayed for.


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