In a previous post entitled, Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Give Thanks, we took a look back into the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Mission Diaries of the 1920s-1950s to see how the Fathers and Brothers spent and carried out Thanksgiving Day traditions at their Center here in Maryknoll, NY. With this idea in mind, I went back to the Maryknoll Sisters Mission Diaries to scour the late November entries and added a slight twist to the information I would gather. We are going to see an entry from the Motherhouse located in Maryknoll, NY for each decade (1930s-1950s). However, they will be accompanied by another Thanksgiving entry of that decade from the field afar. While there are undoubtedly marked differences between the celebrations each year, small threads of continuity always weave their way through this day, helping us to give thanks and to be truly grateful, throughout the decades and no matter where we are.
Maryknoll Sisters in Malabon, Philippines, circa 1932

Maryknoll Sisters in Malabon, Philippines, circa 1932

“Thursday the 30th was Thanksgiving Day. Father Hannon came for Mass. The ‘Te Deum’ sung after the Mass was very beautiful. In the evening we were entertained with a shadow entertainment under Sr. Patricia Marie’s direction. We had the honor of witnessing the Prince of Wales as he called on Mrs. Teahan, our first lady of the Land, and partook of refreshments in a most unique way. Sister Clotilde made an excellent Prince, and Sr. Siena was equally good as Mrs. Teahan. We have many many things to be thankful for today as we look back over the year and see the countless ways in which the good God has blessed our work.”

~Malabon, Philippines, November 1933

Mother Mary Joseph Rogers

Mother Mary Joseph Rogers

Nov. 29 Thursday. THANKSGIVING. A late sleep was most welcome. Our dear Mother gave a beautiful meditation. In the evening, all the old time square dances were indulged in with vim, vigor and vitality. Old and young participated. Mother led the grand march and started the evening off merrily. Turkey – a lion’s share – purchased by Mr. Cogan, graced our tables and made us doubly thankful.”

~Motherhouse, Maryknoll, NY, November 1934

Motherhouse on Thanksgiving Day

“Our Thanksgiving Decorations were very attractive – the Papal and American flags standing on either side of a pretty green drape behind Mother’s chair, and over both the first few sentences of the Preface from the Mass… ‘It is truly meet and just that we should always give thanks and praise…..’

It was happy Thanksgiving Day from the start of the Votive Mass of Thanksgiving with the Prayer for Civil authorities following it, until the end when we sang a Te Deum for the many blessings of the past year.”

~Motherhouse, Maryknoll, NY, November 1945

NOVEMBER 24 Thanksgiving Day – perhaps most of Africa didn’t recognize it as such but we at the Maryknoll Convent were much aware that it was a holiday in spite of the usual routine of school and dispensary work. At five o’clock in the afternoon we had Benediction for the first time in our little Convent Chapel. That alone was enough to make it a special day for Thanksgiving besides the millions of other blessings God has bestowed on us during the past year. Father Glynn, our chaplain officiated at Benediction and the postulants attended the service with us. We intend to teach the postulants a few of our Latin Benediction hymns but so far they only know the Laudate, which they sang with us. After Benediction we sang, ‘Holy God’ as we weren’t brave enough to attempt the ‘Te Deum.’ Perhaps next year when we hope to have at least two members of each choir.”

~ Kowak Diary, Tanzania, November 1949

Maryknoll Sisters Group in front of their home in Kowak, Tanzania
Sr. Patricia O'Mera in Curepto, Chile

Sr. Patricia O’Mera in Curepto, Chile, circa 1953

“26. Today was Thanksgiving and we both almost forgot it. With no one else celebrating the day not even with a free day it is easy to have the feast slide by. Suddenly in the midst of the rule of St. Augustine, Sister Vincent de Paul rang the bell and said, ‘ Happy Thanksgiving!’ It had just occurred to her. To have a chicken ready by noon-time was too short notice for Minerva our new cook. so we had it for supper instead.”

~Maryknoll Sisters Convent, Curepto, Chile, November 1953

‚Äč”27. Thanksgiving Day with a Missa Cantata in Chapel at seven o’clock. Sr. Mary Loretto enriched our library with a gift of six fine new books, spiritual & educational, which gifts have been appearing regularly on feast days. Noon prayers at 12:40 and a sumptuous dinner at one o’clock, for which the Seminary kitchen Sisters joined us, making our family intact. The Students took over supper so that the Sisters might enjoy supper at home as well. Benediction at five o’clock followed by Compline. At seven o’clock, we enjoyed three movies at the Motherhouse, ‘Escapades in Japan,’ ‘Ben and Me,’ (a Walt Disney animated cartoon,) and also his academy award picture, ‘The Living Desert.'”

~Motherhouse, Maryknoll, NY, November 1958

A very happy Thanksgiving to all of you!