Giving Thanks Through Action
Gracious and Giving God, your gifts of love are countless and your goodness infinite; as we come before you on Thanksgiving Day with gratitude for your kindness, open our hearts to have concern for every man, woman, and child, so that we may share your gifts in loving service .
-Thanksgiving Day, Mass Prayer
This season of Thanksgiving brings to our minds and hearts how blessed we are and that realization beckons us to express our gratitude by responding to the needs “for every man, woman and child.” This was the sentiment that arose in my Spirit on Sunday, November 17th as Kathy Kelly from Voices For Creative Nonviolence (www.vcnv.org) spoke to our Sunday assembly after Eucharist.
Kathy has made twenty-seven trips to Iraq and eleven trips to Afghanistan as a voice for nonviolence. She has lived alongside and developed friendships with ordinary people in Baghdad, Iraq and Kabul, Afghanistan.
Throughout her presentation, Kathy told stories about the effects of war on women, children and their families. She and her companions in ”Voices for Creative Nonviolence” believe that ”where you stand determines what you see.” They have resolved not to let war sever the bonds of friendship between them and the Iraqi and Afghan people whom they’ve grown to know and love.
Kathy supports and works with the Afghan Peace Volunteers, which is a group of older teen boys who desire and work for peace in their country. These volunteers study and practice the teachings of Gandhi regarding nonviolence. They have launched the Duvet Project along with an Afghan cooperative of seamstresses to make and distribute duvets,(Afghan blankets), to families in need during Kabul’s harsh winters.
Touched by Kathy’s presentation, Clare Carr, OSB; Prioress invited the sisters to contribute to the Duvet Project. Our Benet Hill community, along with the individual contributions of the sisters made it possible to collect $580.00 for duvets. Each duvet costs $20.00 and the money goes directly to the seamstresses. Our very small gesture of generosity will make it possible for twenty-nine families to keep warm this winter in Kabul, Afghanistan.
We are grateful to Kathy Kelly for making us aware of the immediate needs of men, women and children in Kabul and for giving us an opportunity to not only count our blessings but give out our blessings.
Thanksgiving blessings for you and yours.
Rose Ann Barmann, OSB