From the Collections

Maryknoll Society Gives Thanks

Thanksgiving is a time of tradition. Friends and family gather together to share a hearty meal, enjoy each other’s company and reflect on what they are thankful for. At the Society’s Seminary (Center) in Maryknoll, NY, Thanksgiving observances were recorded in its daily diary. Here’s a sampling of how Society members kept tradition and gave thanks every November from the 1920s through the 1950s.

30 November 1933 – Thanksgiving Day – A very quiet day at the Home Knoll. We have a Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving. The Philosophers and Theologians have their annual football encounter, with a score 6-0 in favor of the Philosophers.

29 November 1934 – Thanksgiving Day finds Maryknollers, at the Center as everywhere, blessing the name of the Lord for countless favors and graces showered on us both as a Society and individually. The feast at noon-day was a tribute to those behind the scenes and was made notable by the presence of Father General at the priests’ table.

24 November 1938Despite the finest fall weather recorded in ages, Thanksgiving arrived with a blizzard and snow storm, the worst in two years.

25 November 1943 – Thanksgiving. Dinner in the refectory for all. Father Daly somehow was able to put on a turkey dinner despite the extreme scarcity of that fowl. The Philosophers gave a very commendable performance of the Mikado before a full house. Father General expressed his delight and the pleasure of the Community and conveyed our thanks to the Philosophers for their much appreciated production.

22 November 1945 – Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in the traditional pre-war style. We have much to be thankful for.

24 November 1949 – Thursday the 24th was Thanksgiving, a Big Day with a Big Dinner. The Sisters had the Refectory decorated with log cabins made with soda straws, clothes-pin Pilgrims, Little Plymouth Rocks, Indians and Turkeys and various miniatures of Myles Standish, John Alden and Priscilla.

26 November 1953 – Blue skies, black eyes and cranberries gave color to Thanksgiving Day at the Seminary. To get trim for Sister Agnella’s belt-busting turkey dinner, the students planned a monstrous field day in the morning with inter-class contests in every sport. Football on the front lawn yielded a full quota of black eyes and Charley horses. But to get back to that Thanksgiving dinner confected by Sister Agnella and her white-veiled cherubim and seraphim, it was something that would make the Pilgrim Fathers walk all the way from Plymouth.

25 November 1954 – Traditional Thanksgiving Day festivities in the refectory  where a few helpless, healthy turkeys…were surrounded and engulfed in delectables, which started with cider, ended with coffee, and traveled peas, potatoes and pumpkin pie. The immaculate festive boards, neatly arranged in the customary perfectionist style of the Maryknoll Sisters, were a doubly fine sight to the aided appetites of the seminarians, who throughout the brisk chill of the forenoon took their places within a sports Field Day. Crowded plates did not deter from counted blessings, and there was added to individual prayers a unified song of thanksgiving for the multiple manifestations of God’s love…

Happy Thanksgiving


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