When I began my summer internship at St. Anthony Shrine, I did not expect to forge such strong relationships as those I have within this community. As I prepare to head back to Boston College next week for my senior year, I leave behind not only a summer of exciting work experience, but friendships that I have forged with true, kind individuals from the Friars to the lay staff, and especially my fellow intern, Anna.

Anna and I are two very different people, and though our internship duties were quite opposite – Anna was the ministry intern and I was the office intern – we often overlapped in our assignments, creating a strong friendship and allowing us both to learn more this summer than we had expected. Anna, having grown up in California (among other places), had returned to New England for college, and her parents relocated here full time thereafter. I, on the other hand, was born and raised on the South Shore of Massachusetts, and have a vested interest, and knowledge, in the city of Boston. Additionally, Anna is a religious studies and a studio art major, and I study communications and psychology. One day, Anna brought in her sketchbook and taught me a bit about her art, and I showed her around the area and took her to TJ Maxx and Primark, making sure we got all the good deals. Working together, we were able to learn new things from our differences and grow as individuals.

Regardless of my status as an intern and my young age, the Friars have taken me seriously this summer, respecting my presence in the office, and offering help or assistance whenever they can. While they may take me seriously, it has become incredibly clear that the Friars do not take themselves seriously. Where I had expected a buttoned-up environment, I was met with a room full of jokesters, chatterboxes, and a playful group of Friars who are always there to lend a hand.

Just yesterday, on one of my last days at the Shrine this summer, I spilled ketchup on my white skirt and each Friar in the room offered to help. Running up to the Friary laundry room, Fr. Brian Cullinane grabbed a bottle of Shout and some club soda, and David Nolan lent me a Tide to Go Pen. Fr. Ronald suggested that maybe I don’t wear white again, and Br. Daniel was sure to keep the joke running throughout the day. Working at the Shrine has taught me that even when life throws obstacles in my way, it is important to laugh at myself and find comedy in little annoyances.

While it may be a comfortable, relaxed work environment, the Shrine has also shown me what it means to manage a diverse group of employees and Friars in a productive manner. Organizing events and projects with the Friar’s schedules and availability, discussing new ideas and suggestions at meetings, and working as a team has taught me invaluable lessons about human resources, business management, and interpersonal relations.

As I spend my last day at the Shrine on Monday, August 21, I will reflect not only on the lessons I have learned here but also the friends I have made, and the memories I will always hold.

Thank you to each member of the Shrine community, for giving me this opportunity to join such a strong, friendly, lovable community.

Written by Kathryn Chaney; a rising Senior at Boston College