Many Christmas events occur in a cycle. Each year brings the opportunity to relive and revisit customs or traditions that have worked their way into our lives over the years.  One such tradition at our Provincial House has been the practice of sharing the gifts collected and set at the foot of our Giving Tree with area folks who can benefit from them the most.

This year our Sisters in residence at the PH, family members, friends and staff were invited to offer a wide variety of toiletry items. Little by little since the tree was blessed and decorated, we watched the packages multiply and grace the visitors’ lounge with their colorful bags and bows.

With great joy we greeted Karen Osbrey and Eleanor Baldoni, SBDHS, members of the board of the Interfaith Resource Group of Putnam and shared our noon meal with them. Gary O was the designated driver and director of the proper stacking of the gifts in the back of his car. Sisters Jackie Robillard and Marian St. Marie, members of the Provincial Team, joined our guests for lunch and stimulating conversation about the efforts of the Interfaith group to assuage poverty in our area. Santa and Mrs. Claus made a surprise appearance and graced each diner with a colorful and tasty candy cane as a reminder of the season.

Immediately following the meal, Dr. Françoise G. Gauthier, our Province’s director of development, briefly explained how this annual Christmas project dovetails so nicely with the charism and purposes of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit—giving, receiving and sharing in love and always from the heart. Karen Osbrey then spoke about the purposes and origins of the Interfaith group and profusely thanked everyone present for their thoughtfulness and their generosity. Eleanor Baldoni, co-director of the former Project Northeast Program, also thanked the Sisters for their kindness and mentioned that she would miss her regular visits to the provincial House after it changes hands. But she reminded us that traditions do live on in our hearts and memories.

As if pre-planned, everyone in the dining room got up, walked into the lounge, grabbed hold of our Giving Tree’s precious offerings and processed to the parking lot where Gary and his gift collecting vehicle waited eagerly.

It was not long before the entire back of the SUV bubbled over with gifts. Goodbyes and last thank you’s and hugs were shared and, as our Giving Tree looked from the lounge window, the tree angel seemed to wave Merry Christmas to all as a unique tradition would bring joy to multiple families one last time.

Christmas is Love, Christmas is Giving. God bless each and every one who gives!

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