Dear Friends,

We hope that you are safe and well.

 Today's Meditation portrays Joan Chittister reflecting on Thanksgiving: "Unstinting Gratitude will save us!"

 We invite you to join us as we commit ourselves to working tirelessly to end systemic and structural racism in our society, in the church, in healthcare, in the workplace--wherever it shows up so that everyone may come to have more abundant life. May this meditation nourish our contemplative-active hearts and sustain all of us in action.

In the spirit of our philosophy of co-creating community and our awareness that the Spirit speaks through each of us, we invite you to share your meditations with us as well. We truly believe that it is God's economy of abundance: when we share our blessings, our thoughts, our feelings, we are all made richer.

We hope and pray that you find peace, healing, hope and the infusion of joy in your life!

With our love and care,

Ron and Jean

MEDITATION 526: "Unstinting Gratitude saves us" by Joan Chittister

"Gratitude is the alleluia to existence," writes Sister Joan in this Thanksgiving message.

Thanksgiving Blessings

Unstinting gratitude saves us

Gratitude is not only the posture of praise but it is also the basic element of real belief in God. When we bow our heads in gratitude, we acknowledge that the works of God are good. We recognize that we cannot, of ourselves, save ourselves. We proclaim that our existence and all its goods come not from our own devices but are part of the works of God. Gratitude is the alleluia to existence, the praise that thunders through the universe as tribute to the ongoing presence of God with us even now.

Thank you for the new day.

Thank you for this work.

Thank you for this family.

Thank you for our daily bread.

Thank you for the storm and the moisture it brings to a parched earth.

Thank you for the corrections that bring me to growth.

Thank you for the necessities that keep me aware of your bounty in my life.

Without doubt, unstinting gratitude saves us from the sense of self-sufficiency that leads to forgetfulness of God.

Praise is not an idle virtue in life. It says to us, “Remember to whom you are indebted. If you never know need, you will come to know neither who God is nor who you yourself are.”

Need is what tests our trust. It gives us the opportunity to allow others to hold us up in our weakness, to realize that only God in the end is the measure of our fullness.

Once we know need we are better human beings. For the first time we know solidarity with the poorest of the poor. We become owners of the pain of the world and devote ourselves to working in behalf of those who suffer.

The Breath of the Soul by Joan Chittister

Finally, it is need that shows how little it takes to be happy. Once we know all of those things, we have come face to face with both creation and the Creator. It is the alleluia moment that discovers both God and the goodness for us.

Let us learn to come to prayer with an alleluia heart so that our prayers can be sincere.

—from The Breath of the Soul (23rd Publications), by Joan Chittister

What's New: November 22, 2021

Kudos for Sister Joan’s presentationsSister Joan gave two presentations recently that received kudos from the sponsors.

First, Sister Joan was a guest speaker for an online course on Hildegard of Bingen taught by Matthew Fox. Following her presentation, he sent this note:

Thank you So Much, Joan, for your passionate presentation yesterday! I know it meant a lot to the students to hear from you and consider those dimensions to Hildegard's life and struggles and teachings that you brought to light so diligently. And the important applications you made to today's current struggles. To hear a woman and a woman leader pronounce on her sister’s so important—and long neglected as you pointed out—voice for justice and empowerment, agency and so much more…. Grateful for your generous giving of time and thought and energy. And great to see you still in such fine form, continuing to fight the good fight. Proud to be your brother (and Hildegard's too), matthew

Second, Sister Joan was interviewed for a podcast on her new book, The Monastic Heart, by Banyen Books and Sound, Canada’s largest spirituality book store. Jacob Steele, Events Manager sent this note:

Thank you for the profound Banyen Books event conversation this week! We have received floods of e-mails of appreciation for the event. It gave me much to contemplate personally around such themes as the value of Sabbath, the true meaning and role of humility in spiritual life, and more. Attached is an excel sheet with the names and e-mails of 196 of the 409 live event registrants who requested to be added to your e-mail list. Warmly, Jacob Steele

A gift that countsIf you can, will you please add a prisoner to your Christmas gift list and send a donation to the Annual Joan Chittister Fund for Prisoners? Click here. This letter from a prison chaplain in Delaware explains why your gift is so important.

2022 Joan Chittister CalendarThank you for sending Joan Chittister’s large and small 2022 Calendars. It will be a welcome gift to the intentional community of James T Vaughn’s Correctional Center in Smyrna, Delaware. I so miss being able to distribute them to our community in person this year, due to COVID restrictions still in place. However, for the past 18 months I have been able to leave The Monastic Way at the JTVCC Gatehouse for the program director to distribute, and this week I’ll be able to bundle the calendars together with December’s Monastic Way. The holiday season is the hardest time of the year, so these gifts are just in time to make the season a little more bearable for our community. May your kindness and generosity continue to return to you in abundance!

Gratefully, Janet Thompson, sfcc

Sign up for best deal everSister Joan’s online monthly spiritual newsletter, The Monastic Way, is now FREE. All you have to do is subscribe here. What a deal! Not only will you receive meaningful daily reflections, but a subscription also makes you eligible for a FREE zoom call with Sister Joan on Tuesday, Dec. 7. Isn’t this the best deal ever? Click here for more information.

Soul PointsNovember 22: John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on this day in 1963. With the death of the young president came the death of the spirit of the nation. Hope died and direction died and idealism died in an entire generation with the death of John F. Kennedy. If we learn anything from such waste, it is that each of us carries some part of another person’s life; but we may never know how much.

—from A Monastery Almanac by Joan Chittister

Mamie and Everett TillNovember 23: “I wanted the world to see what they did to my baby,” said Mamie Till about her choice to have an open casket at the funeral of her son Emmett Till, who was lynched in 1955. Till, who was born on this day in 1921, was a life-long activist and sought-after speaker who toured with the NAACP speaking out about what happened to her son. In 1960, she became a teacher and spent 23 years teaching in Chicago public schools. Till’s role as a mother enabled people to relate to her and gain support for racial justice.

Jimi HendrixNovember 27: Jimi Hendrix, one of the most influential electric guitarists in history and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century, was born on this day in 1942. Hendrix short career began in the US in 1962, playing gigs on the chitlin’ circuit, before earning a place with several bands. In 1966 he moved to England and headlined his own band, Jimi Hendrix Experience, where he quickly earned three top ten UK hits. He achieved fame in the US in 1967 after he performed at the Monterey Pop Festival. A year later, his third and final studio album reached number one in the US. Hendrix was the world’s highest-paid performer and headlined both the Woodstock Festival in 1969 and the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 before his tragic death later that year. Watch Hendrix perform “Purple Haze” live here.

Poem of the WeekThis poem by W.S. Merwin is a Thanksgiving reminder that even in the dark times, thank you is a graced response.



with the night falling we are saying thank you

we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings

we are running out of the glass rooms

with our mouths full of food to look at the sky

and say thank you

we are standing by the water thanking it

standing by the windows looking out

in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging

after funerals we are saying thank you

after the news of the dead

whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you

in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators

remembering wars and the police at the door

and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you

in the banks we are saying thank you

in the faces of the officials and the rich

and of all who will never change

we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us

our lost feelings we are saying thank you

with the forests falling faster than the minutes

of our lives we are saying thank you

with the words going out like cells of a brain

with the cities growing over us

we are saying thank you faster and faster

with nobody listening we are saying thank you

we are saying thank you and waving

dark though it is

—W.S. Merwin

Compiled by Mary Lou Kownacki, Hannah Kurtz, and Benetvision Staff