Anselmians Give Back with Thanksgiving Baskets

November 25, 2019

By Samantha Jette '20

Members of the college community gathered in the Abbey Church on Monday, Nov. 25 for the annual blessing of Thanksgiving baskets headed to local families.

Campus Ministry’s college-wide collection and donation of Thanksgiving Baskets has become a much-loved Anselmian tradition. This year, students, faculty, staff, and the monastic community came together to break the goal of 135 baskets with162 baskets, the most donated in the history of the program. Donations came from student groups and organizations, college administrative offices as well as from community members.

Every basket contains a Thanksgiving meal for 5-8 people, with items such as turkey, stuffing, potatoes, vegetables, and desserts and so much more. Each basket is different, some include decorations or extra canned goods, but all are delivered in baskets or containers recipients can continue to use. During the Blessing Ritual, the decorated baskets lined the altar in a beautiful display of Anselmian generosity.

This year, all 162 baskets are being delivered to Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Manchester, where they are distributed to families in the local community. During the basket blessing, representatives from Catholic Charities shared that this year’s baskets will feed over 1,000 people. MaryAnn Fraser of Catholic Charities said she received a call in August from a family requesting a basket specifically from Saint Anselm.

During the blessing, Campus Minister Joycelin Raho began the event with scripture from 2 Corinthians 9: 6-15, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” Raho then explained, “we have today’s scripture passage to teach us that we don’t lose anything by giving. God calls us to give cheerfully, not grudgingly, bountifully, not sparingly; and voluntarily, not under compulsion. When we do, He responds with abounding grace that overflows in our life.”

“That is what I love about this day. It’s a day that our community puts our faith into action—this is a concrete sign of the generosity our community has, and the love we offer to those in need in light of our faith,” said Raho.

The Blessing Ritual was introduced to campus in 2002 by Sr. Pauline Lucier, C.S.C., a former Campus Minister at the college. The blessing is held each year in gratitude for Sr. Pauline’s example of faith in action.

The donation aligns with Saint Anselm College’s mission as a Catholic, Benedictine institution to serve others in need. While the holidays are a time of celebration and gathering with family and friends, the college community also strives to give back.