I come from a family with very distinct Thanksgiving traditions:
We always went to a certain aunt and uncle’s house in South Minneapolis and carried out several other heartwarming, yet predictable traditions. The customs were so predictable that I actually wrote a “process analysis essay” about my family’s Thanksgiving Day’s activities my freshman year in college. From my dad waking us for Mass to ‘give thanks’ to racing my sister for the newspaper for a chance to color the Minneapolis Star Tribune‘s Tom Turkey, the day was full of joy and excitement!
That being said, let’s jump ahead to my first fall with the Sisters…
Sr. Sara Marie, who would become my postulant directress, heard from me that one of our customs was checking the ice on nearby ponds. To make my first Thanksgiving experience “in the convent” more home-like, and to have a little fun, she had me pose for a picture, broom in hand, “checking the ice” on the little fishpond, to see if it was completely frozen.
Later in the day, we decided to do some baking. About a month earlier we had carved jack-o-lanterns together to decorate the convent. Now we were going to make a pumpkin dessert, complete with homemade graham cracker crust.
We were working in the convent bakery. I had dutifully crushed up some graham crackers and had them in a bowl. When I set the bowl down on the table (which, to my credit, was quite slippery), the bowl slid onto the floor.
What a mess!!! To make matters worse, there was a black rubber mat with circular holes on the floor nearby. Crumbs littered the bakery floor, including between these holes.
Kindly, Sr. Sara Marie got out the Shop-Vac for me. I proceeded to hook up the hose to the mechanism and turn it on. I, however, was not used to using that machine and put the hose in the “blow” instead of the “suck” end. Consequently, as you may imagine, the graham cracker crumbs were blown even more in all directions.
Poor Sr. Sara Marie! What a clumsy Affiliate she had to deal with!!! (This wasn’t the first of my humiliating adventures in Hankinson.)
As the years have gone by, different traditions have materialized for me. Spending the school years during my novitiate and first year in profession in Rugby, I joined my Sisters in travelling “to Grandmother’s House” ever year.
You’ll remember that St. Anne was Jesus’ grandmother. Thus, we referred to St. Anne’s Guest Home, where we spent the Thanksgiving Holiday with our Sisters, as “Grandmother’s House.”
Now, I have been serving at St. Anne’s, myself, for quite some time, and our Sisters from Rugby continue to grace us with their presence at Thanksgiving, according to Tradition.
Sr. Christina M. Neumann, OSF