From the rising of the sun to its setting, may the name of the Lord be praised! Psalm 113:3
All around the world our American missionary sisters celebrated Thanksgiving, finding creative ways to use substitute ingredients for the traditional meal “like Mom makes it.” We share photos and a few details of these celebrations in the Philippines, France, the Canary Islands (Spain), the Netherlands, Iceland, and Italy. We close with some photos from here in the Province of the Immaculate Conception.
Other American missionary sisters serving abroad, but not featured include: Sr. Protectrice de la Foi (Louisiana) and Sr. Victoires (Maryland / Cameroon) in their mission in Tanzania; Sr. Rock of Constancy (Maryland) in Lithuania; Sr. Madre de las Americas (Texas) in Egypt; Sr. Ark of the Covenant (Virginia) and Sr. Faithful Virgin (Pennsylvania) in Guyana, South America; and Sr. Chroi Iosa (Minnesota) in Ireland.
From Taiwan to Philippines
Mother Mater Compassionis (Minnesota) shares with us how she combined an American Thanksgiving with her going-away party from her mission in Taiwan to her new assignment in the Philippines.
Actually, I was still in Taiwan for Thanksgiving. Just arrived to Philippines yesterday!
We had Thanksgiving lunch with the new pastor at the parish where I do apostolate. Father lead a nice Thanksgiving prayer including his gratitude for our sisters assistance at his parish.
Meal was roasted chicken (our Turkey substitute), garlic mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, dinner rolls with butter, and A&W Root Beer (an American treat, a bit extravagant here.)
Then for dinner a few parishioners had planned a going-away party for me. We suggested Mexican food, in honor of our Tex-Mex tradition and in thanksgiving for all our Mexican Americans. It was the first time to eat Mexican food for many of them so we demonstrated how to dip the chips in the guacamole and explained the ingredients, etc.
Now in the Philippines I found Sr. Templum Divinitatis (California) was waiting for me to arrive, so we may still have another Thanksgiving Meal…!
In Le-Cannet-Des-Maures, South of France
Although they had to wait until Sunday to celebrate (their school does not stop for turkey in Provence!), Sr. Marie de Prouille (Washington State) and Sr. Rouen (New Hampshire) were able to bring together an American Thanksiving to share with the other missionaries of our Religious Family serving in France.
In the Canary Islands (Spain)
Sr. Mary Strength of Martyrs (Poughkeepsie, NY) and Sr. Mary of the Nativity (Long Island, NY) are temporarily helping in two of our missions in Spain until their classes begin in the spring semester in Italy. They shared news of their Thanksgiving from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean: Tenerife.
Thursdays are providentially the “community day” of the three missions here in Tenerife (Canary Islands) in Spain. We gathered at one of our convents, and spent part of the morning cooking our Thanksgiving meal.
Father Bernardo, IVE celebrated mass for us, with the intention of “giving thanks for our American vocations, and for the help of our two American sisters here.” The closing hymn of the mass, our song to Our Lady, was Sweet Mother of my Country, which recalls the beauty of the history of our faith in America. (We later explained the significance of the song to the sisters.)
Following Mass, we gathered for the big meal. This was unlike any other Thanksgiving for us two New Yorkers, especially because we shared our meal outside with the beautiful view of the ocean.
The rest of the day was spent enjoying some nice community time. It truly was a great day of giving thanks for the gift of Our Religious Family!
In The Hague (Netherlands)
Mother Maria Nadiya Beznadiynych (Philadelphia / New Jersey) and Sr. Mary of the Holy Family (Michigan) are stationed in the Hague, our northernmost Dutch mission. Although they couldn’t celebrate on Thursday, they did pull off a celebration and wrote to tell us about it.
Yes we had a turkey!! Of course, not until Saturday… but we had it!
We made a turkey, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole with typical Dutch “sperziebonen”, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes (kind of… actually Dutch stampot), gravy[ish], stuffing, pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, apple “pie” (sort of). Not quite the typical Thanksgiving, but we were thankful! I have to say it is a little bit harder to celebrate it in a country that doesn’t take off work that day… or sell jiffy marshmallows and Campbell’s mushroom soup in their supermarkets.
We had three visitors: the Provincial Superior of Ukraine, Mother Hoshivska, and Sr. Vid Jrestátwo, also a Ukrainian sister, as well as Sr. Montserrat, an Argentinean currently serving in the South of the Netherlands, in Brunssum who had been a missionary in the United States from 1994 to 2004.
But Mother Nadiya did a good job giving an explanation to everyone who didn’t know the background of our national holiday. It was nice to be somewhat united to our patria.
God Bless America!
In Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,
Sr. Holy Family
Near the Arctic Circle: Missionary in Stykkishólmur (Iceland)
One of our American vocations who has been in Iceland for nearly 6 years, M. Porta Coeli (Maryland), spent yet another Thanksgiving near the Arctic Circle! She shares stories of the day.
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” –1 Chronicles 16:34
Our Thanksgiving this year was celebrated a little bit late. Iceland doesn’t shut down for Thanksgiving as the United States does, so on November 24th, we had a full day just as usual. We celebrated a few days later with the priests and sisters of our Religious Family in Hafnarfjörður (our mission in the south). This was the first year that I was able to find canned pumpkin and cranberry sauce. The feast was complete.
I enjoyed sharing our traditions which are so familiar to me, and quite strange for the others. Afterwards, we sang many songs, and I began to teach them “I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad”. Though far from my family in the United States, I give thanks for the hundred fold with which the Lord has blessed me, especially the family that God has given me here in Iceland and for the grace to celebrate this feast and all the feasts with them. “From feast, to feast, to the great Feast”.
“Jesus said, ‘Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.’”
In Jesus and Mary,
M. Porta Coeli
At the General House in Rome (Italy)
The largest group of American missionary sisters abroad are serving in Italy. From several different convents, they gathered at the General House for the celebration.
The sisters in the pictures are the following American missionaries from right to left:
Fr. Juan Pablo Palacio, IVE (from Connecticut who celebrated and preached the Mass)
M. Sacred Heart (Maryland) – Vicar General
[M. Corredentora, General Superior (Argentina)]
Sr. Panagia (Maryland) – University Student in Rome
Sr. Joy of Martyrs (Maryland) – Assistant in the Provincialate in Rome and University Student
Sr. Trône du Roi (Louisiana) – 3rd year student in Tuscania
Sr. Czarna Madonna (Michigan) – Fr. Fabro Philosophy Project, Cileno – Italy
Sr. Virgen Oyente (Wisconsin) – 3rd year student in Tuscania
Sr. Sub di Loo (Maryland) – Communications Generalate
[Grace (IVE volunteer from California)]
M. Mercy (New York) – General Treasurer
Fr. Andrea David, IVE (Italian – concelebrant)
We started gathering and cooking on Wednesday and had a dinner of about 30 people. The Generalate community was joined by the community “next door” the Spanish sisters Hijas de Cristo Rey, the American sisters in Italy together with their respective superiors.
We were glad to have the presence of M. Jesus Doliente, current provincial in Italy who was a missionary in the states for many years. Another special “guest” was Sr. Redentor who left today for the mission in Avondale (Pennsylvania) who jumped into one of the group shots. After the dinner we had a nice “fogon” with typical traditional songs.
Below are photos from some of the main Thanksgiving gatherings here in the United States. We pray for our country, in thanksgiving for past blessings and in hope of God’s care for us moving forward into the future.
Whether there is turkey or not, we recall: For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17
Happy Thanksgiving until next year!