Discover more from The Divine Appointment
A tale of two Thanksgivings
God gave me two holidays to celebrate
On October 9, I formally entered into postulancy with the Daughters of St. Paul. In a brilliant example of God’s Divine Providence, everything came together so that my whole family could come with me to St. Louis and see me enter. As it happened, that was Thanksgiving weekend — and I should clarify, it was Canadian Thanksgiving weekend (which this year landed on October 10).
Today, November 24, I have the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving a second time, but this time American Thanksgiving. It’s fitting that I have a second go at these national holidays which center around gratitude and giving thanks, because there truly is a lot to be grateful for.
I’ve been in the convent now for seven weeks — and yes, I’ve been keeping track! 😂 In such a short amount of time a lot has happened, and there has been a lot of new things to get used to. This includes getting called “Sister” a lot1 and being asked the perennial question: “So, is blue your favourite colour?” I’ve also suddenly become a morning person (thanks, Jesus!) and have now become an advocate different iterations of socks and sandals — pre-convent Rachel would not have dreamed that one day this would be my life!
One of the greatest blessings has been the privilege of joining my co-postulants on a mission trip that began on my second week in formation, which took us to Colorado and New Mexico. I had a very in depth first look at the apostolate and charism in action, while also meeting so many incredible people in a place I had never been to. What a gift it was to give Christ to these people, and in term be received by them and ministered to in a profound way.
Upon returning to St. Louis, I started to integrate myself into community life and the daily and weekly rhythms that we share, from prayer to apostolate to sharing in each other’s company. It was also an adjustment to learn how to live with a lot more people — at one point since I’ve been here, we were a total of 15!
But I think the biggest learning curve and blessing has been paying more attention to where God is at all moments in my day. Blessed James Alberione, the founder of the Daughters of St. Paul, would call this an attitude of Studiosita’, or an openness to learn always and from everything. To take everything that the Lord has set in front of us — what we perceive as good, bad, easy, hard — and see what He is saying through it and what we can learn from it. Prior to entering, I might have done this only when in Eucharistic Adoration. But to take the attitude of the student, learning from Jesus, Master and Teacher, in His school, is one that requires openness and humility.
If I’m being honest, these are things that I’ve struggled with my whole life. And so it’s here in the tension that I am called to grow — for the sake of myself, the community of women I am now privileged to call my sisters, for the apostolate, and for the world.
This year, where I get to celebrate Thanksgiving not once but twice, I am reminded again of the almost prophetic verse that was used as decoration for my going away party: “In all circumstances, give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). I am also reminded of the Canticle of Daniel2 that we pray as a church on Sunday Week 1 morning prayer, as well as on feasts and solemnities:
“Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord.
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord.
You heavens, bless the Lord.
All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord.
All you hosts of the Lord, bless the Lord.
Sun and moon, bless the Lord.
Stars of heaven, bless the Lord…”
In all things, may we bless the Lord:
In times of rejoicing, bless the Lord.
In times of suffering, bless the Lord.
In opportunities to grow, bless the Lord.
In moments in community, bless the Lord.
In moments in solitude, bless the Lord.
In times of great abundance, bless the Lord.
In times of poverty, bless the Lord.
At all times, bless the Lord.
Praise and exalt Him above all forever.
I am grateful to each of you for your continued prayers for me and my family during this time of transition and change. May we celebrate the spirit of Thanksgiving every day of our lives.
“Let us give thanks always and everywhere to the Lord for all that He disposes. He is all wise and all merciful and orders everything for our good.” (Ven. Mother Thecla Merlo, FSP, Circular 44, 1937).
Be assured of my prayers!
In Jesus, Divine Master,
Technically speaking, as a postulant I’m not addressed as “Sister” or “Sister Rachel” — that will happen, God-willing, when I enter the novitiate!
Daniel 3:57-88, 56