By Daniel and Christine Costanzo, Parents of Gabe, 12th Grade
The Benedictine motto “ora et labora”, which has shaped the way of life at Saint Martin’s Academy, may require a slight alteration. I would suggest that a more appropriate motto for the Academy might be “ora et labora et FEAST!” Yes, Saint Martin’s has become quite famous for its amazing feasts. Those privileged to partake in one of these fabulous affairs come away feeling as though their entire being has been nourished. The body, mind, and soul find refreshment, and all the senses find engagement.
This year, St. Martin’s commenced its feasting,very appropriately, with the Feast of Our Lady of Victory, commemorating that most crucial battle of Lepanto. The boys fashioned battleships out of cardboard, duct tape, and whatever else they could find that may offer some semblance of aquaticbuoyancy and took to the mighty waters of Lake Fort Scott,where Christian battled Turk. As Providence would have it, defeat was not an option for the Christian warriors, and Our Lady accompanied them to victory!
After the battle, we all returned to Theotokos Hall to give thanks to Our Lady for her continued protection of St. Martin’s Academy, praying the rosary as we all walked the campus grounds led by chaplain Fr. Pilari. The “ora et labora” were now complete, and the time for feasting and merrymaking was at hand.
The feast Chef Macik prepared was a true gastronomical wonder, not only because each dish was made to perfection, but even more so because he created them with a crew of 15-year-old boys! The Spanish-inspired menu did not disappoint! While the fresh cheeses, chorizo, and Jamón Serrano were delightful, the highlight of the evening was most certainly the paella! The sophomore class, our most gracious hosts, had prepared several of these delectable dishes of rice and seafood in traditional paella pans. However,there was absolutely nothing traditional about the size of these pans! Each pan could easily accommodate a host of children looking to employ it to sled down a snowy slope! Since a traditional stove top could not possibly host these gargantuan pans, the boys labored outside over large fires they had created, and the end result was beautiful to behold. They proudly paraded around the hall the fine fair they had created under the tutelage of their master, Chef Macik, and ceremoniously placed them at our tables.
As we all enjoyed the feast laid out before us, these generous young men entertained us with music, song, and poetry. Most notably, one of these fine young men, John Christensen, recited Chesterton’s entire poem of Lepanto! Until late into the night, we continued to enjoy all that a St. Martin’s feast has to offer, but most especially the friendship that is found there. Reluctantly one leaves a St. Martin’s feast, but renewed once again to “duc in altum.”