Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

One of our guests tonight was my dad's Aunt Elaine, his father's youngest sister, who is 83. She is a Roman Catholic nun, of the Sisters of Notre Dame order. She's had significant leadership responsibilities within the order, including a 10 year assignment in Rome immediately following Vatican II. She has traveled extensively in her post and has friends all over the world. Tonight she brought mementos from her most recent excursion abroad, which was a trip to Ireland to visit her older brother Dave and his wife, Mae (my dad's aunt and uncle.)

Elaine is a great guest, as you can imagine. She is not one to sit quietly, but rather holds all of our attention with her fascinating stories and descriptions of life far away from home. She is intelligent, witty, and sharp. She is also very thoughtful. Tonight she brought with her a Thanksgiving prayer that she wrote for us to read as a group before we ate our feast. I would like to share it with you.

Thanksgiving 2007

Whereas: The first settlers to arrive on our land, December 4, 1619, at the Berkeley Plantation on the James River, made it a Day of Thanksgiving to God according to their charter, and observed it annually thereafter, and

Whereas: Governor William Bradford arranged an early autumn harvest festival in 1621 for the Pilgrim colonists, to give thanks to God for the progress they had made and invited Indians to join them, and

Whereas: President George Washington issued a proclamation in 1789 naming November 26th a national day of thanksgiving to God to be observed in all the states, and

Whereas: President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 with the intent of uniting the nation, four months after the end of the Civil War proclaimed the last Thursday of November as the annual national day of Thanksgiving to God, and

Whereas: Americans continue this observance and gather each year in their homes and churches with family, friends, and loved ones to reinforce the ties that bind us and give thanks to God for the freedoms we have and the many blessings we enjoy, and

Whereas: Thanksgiving Day is now a time not only to gather in a spirit of gratitude with family, friends, and neighbors, but also to take the opportunity to serve others and share our blessings with the poor, and

Whereas: We express our deep appreciation for the sacrifices our honorable men and women in uniform are making as they work to advance the cause for freedom. We keep them in our thoughts and pray for their safe return home, and

Whereas: [my grandparents] were married 65 years ago on Thanksgiving Day in 1942, at Holy Name Church. We pause to honor their memory with deep gratitude for all they bequeathed to us, and

Whereas: [my parents] have graciously invited us to come together in their beautiful home to celebrate the blessedness of Thanksgiving Day, 2007, we thank them and we pray

God, our Father, on this national day of giving thanks to you, we are deeply
grateful for the inspiration of the brave founders of our country and the valiant
men and women who fought and died for freedom and unity. We thank you for
the beauty of our land, the abundance of our natural resources and harvests
and the inheritance of being a generous and compassionate people. Grace our
table with Your Presence. Bless us and bless our food. Grant that after our
earthly journeys, we may all be reunited again around the Heavenly Table of
your Eternal Banquet. We ask through Christ our Lord and the Holy Spirit.

When we were finished eating - coffee and dessert long since finished - there was a knock at the door. Sister Theresa had come to pick up Elaine for the return trip. Sister Theresa, we learned, is the head of the order in the United States. But Elaine said her real claim to fame is her beautiful singing voice. Once we heard that, my mom and dad asked her if she'd like to sing for us...and do you know? She said she would be delighted. So we sat down in my parents' living room, all 15 of us (actually 16, since one of my dad's brothers stopped by to say hi), and she sang "Amazing Grace" - a cappella. It was beautiful and moving, and the perfect way to end our gathering.


Libby said...

Wow. Wow. Wow. I am moved just reading about your day, how special.

How sweet the sound, indeed.

Happy Thanksgiving, Meg.

Deb said...

Your Thanksgiving sounds absolutely amazing ~ you have a lovely family Meg :-}
The table setting is gorgeous!

bj said...

Oh, very sweet.
So glad you had a nice holiday. I did, too.
Your dinnerware is about to make me fall out of my chair. I am pretty sure you are going to have to do another post about IT....:) Is it Mackenzie-Childs?

Meg said...

bj - yes it is! I'm glad you liked it so much. Thanks for your nice comment.

hqm said...

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

tulipmom said...

What an incredibly memorable Thanksgiving you had.

paige said...

wow!! what a blessed evening indeed. i'm sure it was a glorious sound!!
ps--does grammy have mck/childs too or did you bring place settings for 16!!

PINK POPPY said...

Your MC table looks so very elegant.....I've always been partial to the Taylor, Walcort & Honeymoon patterns.....but the MacLachlan looks so awesome~ it makes up a great t-giving table~ thanks for sharing with us! :)

Rosemary said...

What a great day!!
Sounds like a wonderful time.
Those place settings are beautiful.
Thanks for sharing your day with us.

Meg said...

Miss Paige, you are correct in thinking that granny has the settings. Much as I love my collection, even I have to draw the line at hauling my plates cross country for Thanksgiving!! :)

Meg said...

PP - I wish I could see pictures of your collection! Thinking of starting a blog soon? ;)

Cottage Contessa said...

Sounds like an awesome Thanksgiving! My Grandmother had a sister who was a Nun, and a brother who was a Priest. The sister who was the Nun was also my teacher at school. We lived 11 houses from the school & our church, so as you can imagine, we saw quite a lot of each other! Wonderful times!
Amanda (aka Cottage Contessa)

homedaisy said...

wow, meg! your thanksgiving sounds like a holiday movie! thank you for sharing the beautiful words.
now, let the christmas decorating begin :)

Merci-Notes said...

What an extremely beautiful day!