.- The St. Scholastica Council 14485 of the Knights of Columbus thought they were doing a routine community service project, clearing out vegetation at a summer camp. They did not expect to stumble upon a long-forgotten shrine to the Virgin Mary.
The local knights’ council in Lecanto, Florida, has worked with the Our Lady of Good Counsel Camp for years. The camp, which is located in Floral City, is a co-ed youth camp in the Diocese of St. Petersburg, and it is run by the pastor of St. Scholastica Parish.
According to the Knights of Columbus, “it was natural that when the grounds needed some sprucing up and physical improvements, the Knights were called into action,” they said in a release.
The knights were instructed to build a path that would improve accessibility to the camp and chapel for campers with physical disabilities. While they were working on that project, they happened upon “a clump of rocks covered with vegetation.”
“Upon closer inspection, we found a grotto and pond, which had been covered with vegetation for decades,” said Les McGlothlin, the spokesman for the council.
Realizing what they had found, approximately a dozen knights worked for three days to unearth the forgotten shrine. The rocks of the grotto were pressure washed and restored, and the statue of the Virgin Mary was repainted and fixed up. The knights built a path leading up to the statue out of stones from a former mess hall at the camp.
McGlothlin said that the council moved to restore the grotto in order to “preserve an important part of the history of the camp and of Citrus County.”
To prevent the grotto from being lost to nature once again, the knights were sure to spray weed killer to prevent the overgrowth from returning.
In addition to the statue of Mary, the knights also restored and repainted four other statues at the camp, and has in the past worked to provide additional maintenance to the camp’s facilities. The council also works each year to raise funds in order to send disadvantaged children to the camp.
The Marian statue at the grotto wasn’t the only religious image to get a makeover from the knights. Recently they refurbished and repainted four other large religious statues on the grounds.
“We returned them in their original glory,” McGlothlin said, adding that the St. Scholastica Council stood ready to respond the next time the camp called for help.