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Thanksgiving Message from Barbara Nicholas

Posted on November 24, 2022, by Barbara Nicholas SL

Dear Loretto Community. Warm greetings to each of you.

As the 4th Thursday in November approaches, I think of it as the most culturally conflicted, historically misunderstood of our national holidays, one that remains mired in controversy. Long before President George Washington proclaimed the first national “Day of Thanksgiving,” we have been taught that there was another “First Thanksgiving” in this country. Perhaps it was a meal shared, or perhaps not. We cannot know the real story.

This week, let’s share words and prayers of gratitude for the blessings that we cherish in Loretto. Let’s find new ways to bring love and compassion into our world, wherever we find ourselves. Let’s find and hold onto a place of joy deep in our hearts as we wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all, with love and great hope for peace and compassion in our time. Let this be our story of thanksgiving in 2022. 

To add a bit broader perspective, I asked Libby Comeaux if in her work among Native peoples for the Loretto Roots project she had come across any vestiges of the Thanksgiving story. Her thoughtful response follows as does a link to a video interview conducted by a young person with an Elder of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. I hope you will enjoy the video as I did.


From Libby Comeaux CoL, Loretto Researcher:

The harvest is in, and Thanksgiving is around the corner. Gratitude pervades. As we are finding in the Loretto Roots Project, we need to inquire more closely into our nation’s myths around Native Peoples, and Thanksgiving is no exception. But one thing is certain: The founders met with individuals from the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and brought some (though not all) of their democratic practices into the first U.S. Constitution in 1777. So we are grateful to that early willingness to learn from Native wisdom. As you gather with friends and family this season, you may wish to pray a version of the Thanksgiving Address with which the Haudenosaunee begin every gathering. Here is a very short video: 


Barbara Nicholas SL

Barbara has been a Sister of Loretto since 1961. For 37 years, her professional career was as a registered nurse in Oncology at Baptist Health Louisville where she served as "bedside nurse," cancer program coordinator and community educator in cancer prevention and early detection. Currently, she is President of the Sisters of Loretto and Loretto Community. Barbara resides in Louisville.
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