Our missionary sisters working in Italy together with the American student sisters at the International Juniorate have introduced the great American feast of Thanksgiving to our Religious Family. Here is the report sent back to us from Sr. Maria del Fiat:
The whole event was a success, thanks be to God. This year we were a big number: the Province of the Immaculate Conception is growing and so is our little diaspora in Italy… so more help this year than ever. We held the event in the Procura in Rome, headed by the intrepid organizer Sr. Faith.
We started the evening with Holy Thanksgiving Mass in English, celebrated by Father Carlos Walker, IVE, the first IVE missionary in the United States, and concelebrated by Father James Ty, IVE.
Father Walker gave a beautiful homily about all the things that we are grateful for as a Congregation. As a second point, he talked about the things to be thankful for regarding the Province of the Immaculate Conception, in light of its 20th anniversary this year.
Then we went to dinner, in a dining room decorated beautifully by Sr. Ephesus and others. Father Buela, our founder, arrived and cut the turkey, courtesy of Mother Mercy’s generous annual donation. The turkey was accompanied by stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, home-made rolls; for dessert, pecan pie, apple pie, and pumpkin pie. The food was delicious, and Sr. Prouille with others did justice to our American cuisine. Father Buela later complimented us several times on the cooking, saying, “Oh, so Americans can cook!”
A note on the ingredients: Apparently some of the ingredients had been accidentally left back in the States when the students came in September, so we were quite short on our usual hard-to-get-in-Italy supplies. Sr. Parousia had the idea to ask none other than the American army base in Naples where she had lived with her family as a teenager. Once she finally got the right phone numbers, she boldly explained the situation to the Army Chaplain and asked for donations. He was surprised but agreed right away to buy all the missing ingredients himself! The sisters took a special trip down to Naples to pick up the food from one of our fellow Americans.
Following dinner was the usual fogon (music and entertainment) organized by Sr. Panagia. During the fogon, we sang various American tunes with harmony (“If I had a Hammer”, “Dixie”, “I Am on the Battlefield”, etc.) as well as solos by Sr. Faith, Mother Anima, and Sr. Nadiya. The innovation of this year’s fogon was Sr. Parousia and Sr. Nadya doing a rendition of the comedy sketch “Who’s on First” (Abbott and Castello) with Faith and Ephesus demonstrating with a bulletin board and Father Buela following along closely with a typed translation. We all laughed to see it.
Father Buela himself was in high spirits the whole night, conversing and of course kidding us the whole time. It was a very informal and familiar atmosphere, extremely pleasant. Among other things, at the dinner, conversations touched on the Province of the Immaculate Conception, and how happy he was with the work being done there, and how much more work there was still left to be done. After the fogon, Father stayed on a while chatting more with us near our huge American flag about Fulton Sheen, among others. He even entered the kitchen to say hello to service and to spy if there were turkey left-overs he could take home! In the true Thanksgiving spirit, he was in no hurry to leave.
All in all, a wonderful night with our founder. We got home to Segni late that night, stuffed and content, just as you should end up on a good Thanksgiving.
In Jesus and Mary,
Sr. Fiat and all the American sisters on the “other” side of the Atlantic