The American missionary sisters have taken Thanksgiving with them around the world! As we prepare to celebrate the Immaculate Conception, the patroness of the United States of America, we share with you some of the stories of how our Americans abroad took time to give thanks once more to God for His providential protection in the first years of our nation’s history.
In the International Juniorate in Tuscania
American sisters at the International Juniorate in Italy have continued the tradition of hosting a large Thanksgiving for the nearly seventy other sisters of their convent as well as our founder, Fr. Buela. M. Nadiya (Pennsylvania), Sr. Faith (Massachusetts), Sr. Czarna Madonna (Michigan), all missionaries stationed permanently in Italy, welcomed the help and energy of the new American student sisters who arrived in Italy in September: Sr. Aeiparthenos (Illinois), Sr. Ancora Confidenciae (Pennsylvania), Sr. Bon Secours (Louisiana), and Sr. Mater Compassionis (Minnesota). In addition to the meal itself, the sisters decorated the dining room in red, white and blue with a statue of the Immaculate Conception and a sign in Italian “Maria Immaculata, salva la nostra patria!” (Mary Immaculate, save our fatherland!) and one in English “Rejoice Always, and Give Thanks.” They also prepared a presentation on the story of the First Thanksgiving and offered a medley of traditional American songs.
Thanksgiving at the Procura in Rome
Mother Mercy (New York), former provincial superior ofour Province and first American vocation, reported a very niceThanksgiving celebration at the Procura House in Rome on Thursday, November 24. She and Sr. Sub Diloo (Maryland) were also able to attend the Juniorate Thanksgiving on Sunday with Fr. Buela.
Mass in English and a Feast at the Convent in Athens
Mother Panagia (Maryland) wrote…“of course we had thanksgiving here; how could we skip this beautiful feast?…Father Paima, IVE celebrated a proper Thanksgiving Mass, in English, in the convent, spoke about the virtue of gratitude in the homily. Of course, this was followed by as big of a meal as we could manage: the supermarkets in Greece don’t sell whole turkeys and many other typical Thanksgiving items, at this time, but of course we were not to be dissuaded! We had to bake the turkey in parts, but managed to have stuffing, cranberry juice and dried (for lack of the other), green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, pecan pie (with walnuts). Not too shabby after all!”
“Songs of Thanksgiving” from Bunclody in County Wexford, Ireland
Mother Mary Mother of Light (Alabama), Sr. Ostrabrama (Maryland), and Sr. Esquipulas (Guatemala / Connecticut) shared an American Thanksgiving with their Irish parishioners and fellow missionary Fr. Miguel de la Calle, IVE. Following the meal, they added an Irish innovation: singing together. See Sr. Ostrabrama accompanying the Irish songs on her viola. Happy Thanksgiving from the SSVM mission on the Emerald Isle!
News from the Convent in Stykkishólur on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula of Northwestern Iceland
Sr. Porta Coeli (Maryland), a new missionary in Iceland, also reported on the most northerly of the SSVM Thanksgivings abroad: “I couldn’t find a turkey, so I bought a whole chicken and pretended it was a turkey. I made all the traditional foods, without cranberries (they also don’t sell that in Iceland). I made a quick PowerPoint of the history of Thanksgiving and presented it to the sisters while they ate our delicious Thanksgiving meal!”
SSVM Celebration in Luxembourg
After spending sixteen years in the United States, Mother Caridad became the first Provincial Superior of the newly formed Province of Northern Europe. This November she introduced to the Dutch and Argentinean sisters serving in Luxembourg the special American meal held on the third Thursday of November. Happy Thanksgiving!
Please pray for our missionaries as they seek to give witness to God’s love and to bring souls closer to Christ, His Son. Happy Thanksgiving to all abroad and to all at home! And may God continue to bless and protect our nation, especially through the intercession of our heavenly patroness: Mary, the Immaculate Conception.