My most recent “Aha” moment came early in the morning as l was brewing coffee on a day close to Canadian Thanksgiving in October. A thought came to my still sleepy mind: “Show Me, Encarna!” Every day since then I have intentionally recalled and repeated those words “Show Me!” as a thought of gratitude.
In recognition of Canadian Thanksgiving (October 11) and American Thanksgiving (November 25), I wish to express gratitude to the universe and the creator for the many blessings I have enjoyed in my life and continue to enjoy.
I am thankful for the beauty of creation, such as the trees changing colors during fall and dropping red, orange, yellow, and brown leaves to carpet the pathway of my 10-minute walk to church for morning mass and adoration. And I am thankful for the beauty of babies and toddlers, my nephews and nieces. Young people are signs of goodwill that surround me amidst the pandemic.
I give thanks for the solid formation my parents gave to me with the help of family, relatives, friends, teachers, and church leaders of Tuguegarao City, Philippines. I am thankful for the education that competent teachers gave to me in public grade school, secondary school, and college. I have deep gratitude for the American mentors who taught us the English language, and for the American missionaries, especially the Good Shepherd Sisters who helped deepen our faith. I am grateful for American soldiers who helped liberate us from foreign aggression. I am grateful for the enhanced professional/spiritual formation that I received from the University of St. Michael College in Canada, where I qualified for certification to teach in Ontario. And I give thanks for the nourishment of all the parishes I was sent to in Canada.
I give thanks to the Good Shepherd Sisters for a rich charismatic formation as a former nun in the Philippines, especially Sr. Veronica Mondoffedo (RlP), novice mistress, and everyone who assisted and prayed and incarnated Saint Mary Euphrasia.
I am thankful for having had the privilege of working with the Claretian priests as a teacher to continue my formation for evangelization, and for my family in Canada who helped me adjust to western culture.
I express my gratitude for enhanced spiritual/human enrichment from the Canadian Good Shepherd Sisters as a Lay Associate for seven years, when I was mentored by Sr. Bernadette Robitaille, under the leadership of Sr. Joan Looby and Sr. Elise Rasch (RIP). I am grateful for the friendship and prayer example of all Canadian Good Shepherd Sisters.
My gratitude extends to my further enhancement and formation as a Companion of Jesus the Good Shepherd, especially for Sr. Ann Sullivan who mentored us, Companions, for more than a decade. I cannot forget Sisters Monica Meehan, Catherine Hughes, Madeleine Manning (now a layperson) Leona Marie (RlP), and all the Canadian Good Shepherd Sisters for their mentoring, powerful prayer, good works, and example they set for us to follow.
Good Shepherd Formation
I am grateful to have completed my charismatic formation by the American Good Shepherd Sisters, with especially deep gratitude for Sister Dorothy Doyle, who has been on a journey with us for three decades, and Sister Janice Rushman, who effectively facilitates all our North American gatherings and keeps us connected to the Leadership Team.
My heart is filled with gratitude for the delightful hospitality of the Sisters in St. Louis Missouri, especially Sister Monica Duong and the kitchen crew who always prepare our meals that are made more delicious by the love that is accompanied in the preparation of our meals and rooms. Thank you to Sr. Dolores Kalina who continues to mentor and connect us to the Leadership Team.
Sisters Nora Dennehey (RlP), Thomas More Fahey, Clare Marie Doyle (RIP), Rene Sheich, Frances Altavilla, Joan Kopf (RlP), Eileen Schiltz (RlP), and Bernadine Scott (RIP) accompanied us during the gatherings as mentors and friends. I am deeply thankful for these Sisters.
Above all, I thank our foundress, Sr. Rose Virginie, RGS, (RIP) for receiving St. Mary Euphrasia’s vowed lay consecrates and for writing books about her with all of the other Sisters who assisted you. My heart is filled with gratitude for the countless prayers, joys, sufferings, and friendships incarnating St. Mary Euphrasia all over the globe!