“From Books to Boats To Babies:” Alumna Bridget Workman (‘15) Journeys from Horse Riding to Homemaking

Alumna Bridget Workman (nee Eames), who graduated from Wyoming Catholic College in 2015, spent her first summer after college working as a crew member aboard an 100-foot classic wooden yacht in the Seattle area. Cruising up and down the southern portion of the Inside Passage along the coast of British Columbia, the yacht owner’s vacation was facilitated by a very hardworking crew. “Starting at 0600 and sometimes not finishing till 2300, our days were filled with prepping meals, washing dishes, stripping beds, restocking the cooler, polishing brass, anchoring, keeping watch on the bow, and taking turns at the helm,” Bridget recalls. The experience and tolerance for adversity she had gained as a leader in the College’s outdoor program provided the strength to take on the long hours of work on the vessel.

But it wasn’t all grueling. In the evenings, Bridget and the ship’s captain would play music for the family, “he on his keyboard and I on my violin.” On afternoon breaks, the crew would kayak along the beautiful inlets watching the sun sparkle across the ripples of the water. “I constantly marveled at the grandeur of God.  It was a fantastic first job after college!”

Back on the mainland for the school year, Bridget worked as a nanny. But the ocean beckoned, and she rejoined the boat for the following summer. After the second summer season ended, the owner appreciated her help so much that he requested to have her on the boat each summer! To employ Bridget during the winter weather, he created a full-time position in his real-estate company as his personal assistant’s assistant. As the assistant manager in their new restaurant, property manager (including two in Maui), assistant for the owner’s personal finances, and as general errand runner, “the tasks were ever new and always interesting!” 

“In both my work as an executive assistant and as a secretary/accountant to a start-up construction business, my Liberal Arts training has served me very well,” our violinist-sailor-cum-personal assistant comments. The goal of this education “is to help one be a human first and a worker second.” Because of this, she says, “employers have been interested in hiring me, since I have a broader understanding of life, human communication, and leadership.”

After college, Bridget took time to discern a religious vocation with the Byzantine monastic community of Christ the Bridegroom Monastery in Burton, OH. But in 2016, Bridget met her future husband while dancing at a WCC alumni wedding. “I met Riley and it was clear that my vocation was as a wife and mother,” she said. In 2017, she and Riley were married. Their first child was born in the spring of 2019, and Bridget ended her full-time job to raise their children at home.

Bridget has loved children ever since she was young. “I took care of many children as a nanny in high-school and on college breaks and very much enjoyed the challenge and what I learned from helping them experience life.” Although raising young children can be hard work, Bridget says the Outdoor Leadership Program gave her the “perspective that doing hard things is not only worth it but it grows me in ways I won’t see till years down the road.” Having to “wake up in the middle of the night to feed an infant and then take care of toddlers for the rest of the day can give one much to complain about without any sympathy from the little people you are caring for,” but it is worth it for the beauty of these small humans.

As Bridget studies the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling to use with her children, she has discovered many basic principles that overlap with the Liberal Arts. “Being steeped in the basic understanding that the human person is made for God and creation is made for the human person to experience God’s glory has given me such appreciation in growing in God’s love as I walk with my children towards Him.”

Bridget recalls how she first heard about WCC through two students from the first or “pioneer class” of 2011. Their excitement and passion about what they were experiencing at the college sparked a desire to learn more about the school, and when she visited as a sophomore in high school, she “knew that if I were to attend college, it would be Wyoming Catholic College.”

“From the daily opportunity of Mass and Adoration to the discussions of Plato while paddling down a river on an outdoor trip, it formed my love of living fully in each aspect of my life,” Bridget says. “I most appreciate how successfully WCC provides its students with the tools to thrive as a whole person. I loved how we were not limited to specific areas of study in our discussions in each class. Theology could be brought in easily into science class, and so on.  Lastly, I very much appreciated the no-tech policy at the school to facilitate real human interaction on campus.”

When asked what single thing from her time at WCC continues to impact her most, Bridget replies that it was her senior thesis topic, on the role of the heart in the human person. “One of the things from my thesis that I lean on daily is the Prayer of the Heart, or the ‘Jesus Prayer.’” This prayer from the Eastern Christian tradition, “Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner,” is meant to be prayed with each breath and encourages more continual prayer, as St. Paul urges.

With time this prayer enables the heart to enter into prayer without the body stopping the necessary work of running a busy household. “It brings the peace of Christ into the screams of a distraught toddler,” Bridget says. “The Jesus Prayer provides a means for me to enter into prayer internally when the external is anything but peaceful.  My spiritual father often reminds me, ‘Your LIFE is a prayer. Don’t become anxious when you aren’t able to find time for contemplative prayer some days, as you are praying constantly.  When you hear your baby’s cries, they are the bells calling you to prayer.’”

If Bridget’s journey from studying the Great Books to boating in the Pacific NW and then on to joyful motherhood proves anything, it is that the path of a true “Liberal Artist” is anything but ordinary. Stemming from the ancient world, this liberal education (from Latin liberalis, “worthy of a free man”) aids in giving one the freedom and versatility to be alive and full of wonder at the world around you. You never know what might happen to you once you’ve embarked on the Wyoming Catholic Path. Fiddling beneath the stars onboard a yacht? Studying the Byzantine Jesus prayer? Raising children to flourish in this same wonder? The possibilities are endless; after all, you’ll be equipped to do anything “worthy of a free man.”

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