By Elizabeth Eilers Sullivan, Visitation Alumna

In cities with literal bridges, we live and work with the sisters who form bridges between these two cities constantly.

Sister Mary Frances just wrote to share with us that: “The Students from Mendota Heights Visitation, where Sister Mary Frances and Sister Katherine both taught, are preparing Thanksgiving Baskets for 125 families. The meals include all the fixings for a traditional feast day meal, complete with the turkey and pan!…

“They are also preparing 600 personalized Christmas stockings for agencies and neighborhood children! The students from The Convent of the Visitation in Mendota Heights, come over on a regular basis and assist the sisters in many of their activities.”

The Spoon and the Cherry Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

The Spoon and the Cherry Minneapolis Sculpture Garden--a creative bridge

This is a bridge that was both intentionally and naturally formed when Sisters Mary Frances & Katherine joined The Visitation Monastery in north Minneapolis. They brought with them the awareness of this community and the invitation for the students of Visitation to extend their relationships outside of their classrooms with their classmates into the wider Twin Cities Community. It is a bridge that flows both ways, that creates a synergy of awareness, good will, education, and most importantly relationships.

When I was a student at Visitation I had the good fortune of being invited into the varied activities of the Sisters in north Minneapolis;  I remain grateful for the organic, authentic relationships present there and a way for me to enter into relationship with the neighbors of their rich and diverse community. At the time our main focus was working at a day care center, and I enjoyed being with the sisters, the neighbors, and the larger community. When I returned back to the Twin Cities after 12 years of being away, a close classmate of mine mentioned that she adopts a family at Christmas. I called Sister Katherine to inquire if there were any other families in need of a “Christmas adoption.” It was close to Christmas, and Sister Katherine said what they needed were stocking stuffers and could I supply them with some of those? This call placed me back in relationship with the Sisters and the bridge I first traveled as an 8th grader I crossed gratefully again finding the gratitude, grace and hospitality flourishing at the Monastery and the community that surrounds it near and far.

As we prepare our hearts for Thanksgiving, and heighten our awareness toward our gratitude, the Visitation Sisters of north Minneapolis continue to invite us into relationship with ourselves, with our families, and with our neighbors. May we travel the bridges we need to literally and figuratively to meet one another.

Please take a moment to share in the comments section what you are grateful for this Thanksgiving. And also, the bridges, or the relationships you give thanks for having in your life. (At my son’s Thanksgiving liturgy this morning, he was thankful for nature and stars, another boy for deer meat, and another for everyone in the whole wide world.) I am thankful for the Sisters, the neighbors of north Minneapolis, and our first Thanksgiving in our new home with all my boys.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Elizabeth Eilers Sullivan is a 1993 graduate of the Mendota Heights Visitation; she currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with her husband and three sons. She is a freelance writer who is passionate about motherhood and sharing Salesian Spirituality . We are happy to feature her here as a guest blogger from time to time.

1 Comment

sr. suzanne homeyer · November 20, 2010 at 3:14 pm

i am thankful for all the people and sometimes even pets who come across the various bridges in our lives to become new friends and companions on the journey….we don’t ever meet people by accident…..and once we meet them seeing them again is just re-kindling a wonderful relationship! i know i am
thankful for bridges that bring us closer to loved ones….remember that old thanksgiving time song ‘over the river and throught the woods’…?
sr. suzanne

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