Thanksgiving, 2015

Thanksgiving, 2015

Life is filled with hardship. We know about, and might even be people who experience acts of violence and terrorism, abuse and rejection, poverty and oppression ─ and the list can go on. Are we simply grateful to survive hardship or do we survive because we are grateful for what we do have? It is a question that bears reflection.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Paul writes, "In everything give thanks." We must find reason to give thanks to God ─ for the rain and the sunshine, the dying and the rising, the ups and downs, the hungers and the happiness, the vulnerabilities and the strengths that are ours. Being able to give thanks for everything may just be what helps us through the hard times with hope while deepening our understanding that it is gratitude that can open hearts and change lives.

I have heard it said that the root of joy is gratefulness. It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful. May this Thanksgiving truly be a time of joy. I invite you to listen to the sisters as they raise their voices in a hymn that is a community favorite: Joyfully Sing to Our God. Join us in our desire to be filled with humble appreciation for what God has given us and the abiding trust that God will always give us what we need.

Wishing you and yours a blessed day of giving thanks!

Sister Anne Wambach, OSB, the twenty-first prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pennsylvania is a native of Philadelphia. She moved to Mount St. Benedict Monastery in 1992 to respond to a desire to experience the monastic way of life. Previously a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Chestnut Hill, Sister Anne began the formal transfer process to the Erie Benedictines in 1993 and made her monastic profession in 1997.

Sister Anne has served the people of the Diocese of Erie as a teacher at St. Gregory's School in North East, Pa., from 1992-1995, and at the Neighborhood Art House in Erie, beginning as program director in 1995 and as executive director since 2005. She served on the Monastic Council from 2006-2010.