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Reflection

Saying thank you: Thanksgiving 2010

Signs of autumn at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

How many times have we witnessed (or participated in) this scenario? An adult hands something to a small child and a parent says to the little one, “What do you say?”

The expected response? Thank you!

We all know the drill.

In addition to being an expression of politeness, this oft-repeated exchange is also a practice of gratitude. What is a practice? The Sisters of Providence came upon this idea in the book “Practicing Our Faith,” edited by Dorothy Bass. The notion of practice is developed in the context of our Christian faith. Bass defines Christian practices as “… things Christian people do over time to address fundamental human needs in response to and in light of God’s presence in the world.”

I know — you’re thinking I forgot about the small child being urged, prompted and cued to say “thank you.” Not at all …

I’m suggesting that in this oft-repeated, almost mundane exchange between child and adult, the Christian practice of gratitude occurs. Expressing gratitude — no matter how simple the deed that prompts it and no matter how automatically we say the words — recognizes “God’s presence in the world.”

To paraphrase the Scripture, ‘when do we see you, God?’

‘You see me in your sisters and your brothers — those near and those far away. I am present in all loving, generous, selfless human gestures. You see me in the beauties of creation. I am never separate from you.’

Saying “thank you” in any form — quiet prayer, silent contemplation of beauty, notes or cards, hugs and kisses — is our recognition that God’s love touches us in real and tangible ways.

Saying “thank you” in any form reminds us that all is gift in life, and we recognize each gift as coming from the Source of Life, God’s loving providence.

Saying “thank you” in any form helps us to remember that the practice of gratitude, over time, will shape us into a community of people who remember where we come from, why we are here and for what we strive — i.e., the fullness of life in God.

All the Sisters of Providence join me in wishing you a very wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving!

Thank you for your friendship and support of us and our mission.
Sister Denise Wilkinson, SP

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Sister Denise Wilkinson

Sister Denise was the general superior of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods from 2006-2016. She previously served as a high school teacher, college administrator, postulant/novice director and director of advancement and communications for the Congregation. Currently, Sister Denise serves the Congregation in various volunteer positions.

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