By Sister Michelle Woodruff, ASC
As I began thinking about November, which is right around the corner, gratitude was the word that kept coming to mind.
Gratitude that I could use that as a theme to weave through these thoughts, and that I had already been reflecting on gratitude for many months. Leaving our mission in Crownpoint, N.M., in July, where I worked as a public health nurse, gave me an opportunity to reflect with gratitude on 14 years that I was honored to minister among the Diné or Navajo People. I learned so much from them, creation around me, and from Sister Maureen Farrar, ASC with whom I was on mission in Crownpoint.
I feel that I grew professionally, spiritually, personally, and as an Adorer during those years on mission. The journey has been truly amazing. After leaving New Mexico this summer, I was also grateful to spend time and reconnect with our sisters in Wichita, Kansas, and Columbia, Pennsylvania, since it had been several years since I had made an actual in-person visit.
I enjoyed at least saying hello and sharing a few stories. Then upon arrival to St. Louis, gratitude appeared again as sisters and coworkers at the Mission Center were so welcoming and patient as I began new ministries and started living in the city, where I got lost several times those first weeks.
I felt gratitude again as I used my nursing skills to help out in October at the Ruma Center accompanying sisters and coworkers. I am grateful for the one-on-one conversations on Clementine Hall. It is always good to connect with stories and wisdom and a few laughs. It is a privilege to hear the sisters reflect on their times in mission, the joy of many journeys with others and with God.
One that really touched my heart was a journey with Sister Ann Fearday, ASC as she chose to shave her head instead of watching her hair come out little by little from chemotherapy. It is a time I will cherish, to be witness to her courage and faith. And it was the first time I had even touched a razor. (Ann was doubly brave!!)
This thread of gratitude was summed up well by Sister Leona Luechtefeld, ASC, who calls it “the attitude of gratitude.” Leona told me you cannot just be grateful for everything, you must name things specifically. So as we approach November, the month of gratitude and thanksgiving, let us all have this attitude in mind.
Ahé hee’ (thank you in Diné)