Sister Rita's Thanksgiving

Sister Rita Woehlcke, SSJ

Sister Rita Woehlcke, SSJ

My dear friend, Sister Rita, SSJ, and I are writing a book together, and will tell you more about it as we go along. For now, let me just say I couldn’t be more excited about it, as the wisdom I’ve received from her over the years has been, and continues to be, invaluable.

She sent me a reflection she wrote for Thanksgiving, and I thought I’d share it with you.  Here it is:


Reflection:   November  23,  2016

Here  I am . . .  these are the 3 words that begin  my journal day after day.  Here I am  in a world wracked with fear, a terrorized world.  Here I am . . .  in world where so many people are moving beyond fear and hatred toward forgiveness and hospitality.  Here I am , a first-world white woman with an education, with  a warm home,  going to celebrate a veritable feast day meal  with my local community.  Here I am   in a world  where women  are traded and trafficked, denied education, violated and abused.  Here I am  . . .  I am in my world as Jesus was in his, surrounded  by persons of  good will, surrounded by enmity, surrounded  by finger pointing, surrounded  by people looking for  God, surrounded by people like myself, capable of great generosity , capable of great self-absorption, of withholding love.

My daily “here I am” reminds me that the brokenness and  beauty I see in the world  lives in me.  My thanksgiving prayer is begging the grace to live from gratitude and when I experience my poverty of age, energy, selflessness, empathy and practically every other virtue  – to be grateful  for that.  It is my poverty that helps me understand the desperation of others. It is my poverty that teaches me humility, to stand in awe of the incredible courage and sacrifice so many bring to each day.   It is my poverty that reminds me to live completely dependent on God and grace.  It is my poverty that makes me look into my heart each morning to what  2 cents I have and beg for the grace to be generous with it.

My abundance is all I have been given. None of it was owed me . . . the companionship of others, their honesty with me, the gift of home, family ( with all its imperfections) those who believed in me when I did not believe in myself.  My poverty is my own. 

Thinking about my inner poverty  is for me  a good way to prepare for Advent.  It reminds of all the empty places needing to be filled by God. It reminds me that the emptiness in me might be a haven for others.   My poverty reminds me of all the world’s longings, Earth longing for a respite from out relentless exploitation, persons longing for what they need to survive, and of course  Jesus – the one who embraced and experienced  all our longings, the one with us. 

Thanks for all the ways you give of you 2 cents  to bring about care of Earth and the dear neighbor, to heal broken relationships, to make room in the inn of your hearts  for the Christ  who comes in  myriad guises. 

 Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends. 




  1. Anne Witherspoon on November 25, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Beautiful. Thank you Sister Rita and Lauren. kind regards, Anne

    • Lauren B. Davis on November 25, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      Sister Rita is the best. I’m honored to know her.

  2. Leo Woehlcke on November 25, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    I taught Rita everything she knows. Just kidding. Is she brilliant or what!!!!! Rita and I have “chatted” about this endeavor. It’s so neat to see her face when she talks about it. Have a wonderful holiday!

    • Lauren B. Davis on November 25, 2015 at 8:38 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment, Leo. She is brilliant, and with a heart as big as her intellect. I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with her. She will bring a great deal of help along the path to many people. Happy Thanksgiving to you, and I hope we meet one day soon.

  3. Linda C. Wisniewski on December 2, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    Wow, I am so happy to read about this news! Sister Rita knows how to convey emotion on the page, just like you, Lauren, and I can’t wait to read your book.

    • Lauren B. Davis on December 2, 2015 at 5:06 pm

      Thanks, Linda. Sister Rita’s both a wonderful human being and a wonderful writer. Working with her on this project is a delight.

  4. Mary Ellen Crowe on January 15, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    I just stumbled on this! Rita and Lauren, your words provide inspiration for so many. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Lauren B. Davis on January 15, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      You’re welcome, Mary Ellen. Thank YOU.

Leave a Comment