Sisters making mainstream headlines - of thanks

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In the spirit of Thanksgiving week, we turn the spotlight on thoughts about gratitude from women religious, on sisters who live thankful lives and start looking ahead toward Advent, which begins Sunday.

A prayer of thanks

From Sr. Mary Connor, the abbess The Order of Poor Clares in Traveler’s Rest, S.C., who posted this to their website:

Dear Friends,

This year as we celebrate Thanksgiving, we remember the blessings of the past 60 years. We are grateful for the call our sisters received to serve the Church in South Carolina, their courage, and each kind and loving act that has supported our life here throughout these years. In this month of November, we remember especially all our benefactors who are part of the Communion of Saints; they supported us in their earthly lives but they still accompany us on our journey.

A crash course in grace

Kathryn Lopez writes this week for of spending a day with a group of women religious on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

“The scene around me included Sister Antoniana navigating a cart with a slow cooker, a laptop and a large pot of tortellini soup from convent to convent, from meeting to event, through the streets,” she writes.

“Spending a day with these radiant women gave me a crash course in the great contributions that women bring to the world and the beauty of self-sacrifice. As they'll tell you, this radical life they're living is meant to be a window into the peace and joy of heaven, a reflection of the glory of a creator who would give humanity his son in the name of vanquishing sin.

“As we turn toward Christmas in the coming weeks, this is what we celebrate: a divine gift of mercy to humanity.”

I’m thankful for . . .

Women religious who use social media. A tweet this week from the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross, @gbfranciscans, in Green Bay, Wisc.: “One week till the first Sunday of Advent! Find some pine boughs & votive candles. Let's do this with joyful prayers!”

Grateful for socks

Sr. Therese Ann Rich with The Ursuline Sisters in Youngstown, Ohio, recently blogged how grateful she was for the gift of 50 socks.

A mother-daughter team from Canfield crocheted the socks that the order needed for its Water With Blessings Mission trip this year. The socks are used to protect the filtration systems that are used to clean the water.

Next month Sr. Norma Raupple will lead a group of young women, nicknamed “Water Women,” to the U.S.-Mexico border to provide clean water for residents on both sides of the border.

The kits cost $60 each. If you’d like to help or contribute to the cause, for which the sisters would be most grateful, call 330-792-7636.

Sharing the turkey

Every Thanksgiving since 1995, the Trappist monks at Mepkin Abbey in Moncks Corner, S.C., have traveled to the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy convent to share their holiday meal with the women.

The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C., wrote of the meal two years ago when more than a half-dozen monks, some of whom rarely leave the abbey or go out in public, enjoyed the meal, a way to thank the women for everything they do for the brothers.

The men usually follow a vegetarian diet, but they do partake of Thanksgiving turkey, for which they are very grateful.

A look ahead

A greeting and call to Advent action in the recent winter family newsletter from the Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville, Ala.:

Dear family,

Can you believe that Advent is so quickly approaching? Here in the monastery, Advent quietly pervades the atmosphere with a joyful anticipation.

In a particular way, through Holy Mass and the Divine Office, it seems as if the whole church leaps backward into the “B.C.” of time and unites with all those holy people of old in waiting for our Father to keep His promise.

Our prayer becomes a great longing of the heart for the Messiah and we soon realize that, in this, the waiting is not the “twiddle-your-thumbs” kind!

This dialogue with God leads to the discovery that He is longing to guide each of us personally. Maybe He will keep us busy this Advent encountering His love in new and powerful ways.

I am also thankful for this . . .

Cheesecake, especially goodies made by women religious. The Nuns of New Skete in Cambridge, N.Y. sells their "heavenly" cheesecakes through their monastery store.

New this year: Deluxe Bacon cheesecake.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

[Lisa Gutierrez is a reporter in Kansas City, Mo., who scans the non-NCR news every week for interesting pieces about sisters. She can be reached at]