by Sr. Joanne Bierl MMM U.S.A. 24.11.2022
The Thanksgiving holiday has always been the most important to me even as a child. It is built on a simple concept of giving thanks…less commercial than most holidays. There are many different opinions about the origin of the day (1863) and it is true that the early colonists in the United States did not generally appreciate and honor the indigenous American Indian cultures. In fact, we have yet to deal with the way early Americans decimated these cultures. It is also true to say that those cultures already contained ways of giving thanks and celebrating bounty. Regardless, the concept of a day set aside to give thanks is one that has meaning for many up to 2022.
The joy of this day was one that could be celebrated in different cultures and countries as an MMM. I have some very happy memories of Ireland, England, Kenya, Ethiopia and Honduras celebrating this day…gathering people together with prayer, food, drink, and a sense of gratitude for being alive despite all the circumstances of life!
In the years since studying the Latino culture and living in Honduras it has taken on even a richer meaning for me. It is the entire month of November becoming a month of remembering and giving thanks. It begins in early November with the “day of the Dead” and continues through the month. Many churches in the USA with strong Latino membership create beautiful altars in their churches with photos of all their deceased loved ones that keep company with the living all through the month. It has been a custom now to prepare an altar in our MDO office with the photos and memorial cards of all those who have died and are part of our lives…to celebrate and give thanks for them and end the month with the holiday of Thanksgiving.
We all have our traditional recipes and foods for that day and in the USA, it is a big day of gathering, cooking together, and watching football. And yet, the simple concept of saying “thank you” has great meaning for many. That spirit of living with a grateful heart is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. We all long for that! Happy thanksgiving!