A very happy New Year to all! It’s hard to believe that we’re saying those words again as the year 2023 begins. It’s even harder to believe that we’re already six days into the New Year! As this time approaches each year we always seem to ask questions about the future. Our curiosity, the thrill of the unknown, and the consistency with which time flies often keep us looking forward. However, it is equally as important to take this time to look back. Our experiences and interactions, good and bad, brief or lengthy, throughout the past year have helped shape us into who we are right now. The question is, how will you choose to look back? Perhaps with a little toast of thanks?

That is the idea that Mother Mary Joseph Rogers, foundress of the Maryknoll Sisters, gave me when I came across a talk she had given to the Sisters on their Silver Jubilee. She reflects with grace on the past 25 years, giving thanks for all of the experiences and all of the people interwoven into the Sisters’ story. Please read her words and, if you so choose, take another look at this past year or the past several years with a little toast of thanks. Wishing you all a beautiful year to come!

“Looking back over the past quarter of a century – it has had its trials, some bitter, some severe, and we still have our growing pains – some of them hurt very much. But I think all of us are most conscious of thankfulness, as we think of what the years have brought.

We think of our pioneer Sisters. We think of our Sisters who came early and who have already gone to God. We think also of the Sisters who came to the Community and have left it for one reason or another. All have their place – all of them have had a part in moulding the life of our community.[..]

We look at the future and we can only hope that God will bless us as He has in the past. I think that I can only say to all of you who are here now – and the same thought, the same word goes out to all of our Sisters wherever they are – a word of special thanks for the co-operation which you have given – for your zeal, and your patience – for all that you all have done to make our work possible. No matter whether you came in the beginning or the end of a work like this – we are all ‘Wise Women’ in that we have chosen the better part, in that we have been privileged to hear within our hearts the call of those who have never heard the name of Christ and have been filled with zeal and longing to go out to them.

And so, tonight, I thought we would drink a little toast to our past, particularly in thanksgiving for all that God has given to us – to the blessed memories of the past, whether painful or pleasant ones – that each and every one of us – individuals, and we, as a Community, will correspond fully to the graces that God will give us.”

Mother Mary Joseph Rogers, Talk to the Sisters on their Silver Jubilee, January 6, 1937