Lynda Thompson, SNJM
As I reflected on this year of Jubilee, I became deeply aware of how blessed and abundant my life has been during my 50 years as a Sister of the Holy Names. I am grateful for my parents, Douglas and Marguerite, who brought me far from their Iowa roots to beautiful, green but quite damp, Oregon in 1951. I learned from them that family is precious, to “aim high”, that achievement is possible and so many practical ways of making life better for others. I am grateful for my four brothers and my sister, Mary Sue. We have supported each other through difficult times.
I am grateful for my Community of amazing, diverse women who have walked with me and given me so many opportunities to study and to explore unfolding paths of ministry. In the late 60’s I spent a summer in the deep South, Louisiana, during the Civil Rights movement and, in the 70’s, I earned a MA at a mid-Western innovative theology program, which included dance and drama. Since then I have tried to teach PE to sophomores, Gerald Manley Hopkins to seniors and whatever possible to 8th graders in Medford, Salem, Eugene and Portland. Weekends with youth group activities taught me to be thankful for the generous and talented Marist brothers who did the driving and cooking.
I have been privileged to work with our Congregational Leadership Team in Montreal and our Province Leadership Team in Oregon. Witnessing our Sisters in action in Lesotho, Winnipeg, Tutwiler, Mississippi, Los Angeles, the Yakima Valley and many other locales deepened my appreciation for the gift our Charism is for God’s people, especially those marginalized and without hope.
I am grateful for the support I received to complete my CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education)training in San Francisco and to study Applied Theology in Berkeley. I was encouraged to venture into health care as Chaplain, Pastoral Care and Mission Leader in Eastern Oregon, Ontario, in the development of Mary’s Woods and, presently, at Providence St. VincentMedical Center in Portland.
My life has been abundantly filled with challenges, unexpected surprises, lasting friendships. If the first prayer I offer today is “I am grateful, my God”, that can only be the beginning of a Litany of Thanksgiving.