We sisters, associates and guests gathered at The Hungarian Rhapsody restaurant on December 18 to celebrate Christmas. The afternoon began with a lovely Christmas Prayer service that helped us recall that first Franciscan Christmas in Greccio and put us in the Christmas spirit as we sang O Come All Ye Faithful. Then, those of us who brought guests, introduced them, and several sisters and associates shared personal news and events. We especially remembered Sr. Shirlee Hoski who was very much with us in spirit. Having fed our souls, we then feasted on delicious Hungarian cuisine.
After the meal it was time for the second-annual SSJ-TOSF benefit auction to begin. As is our custom, everyone brought treasures from home to place on the auction block. We had everything from chrysanthemum bulbs, to platters, religious items, Christmas décor, jewelry, and even a decanter of Bailey's Irish Crème! As the auction began excitement mounted as bidders competed by bidding to leave the items wrapped or unwrapped. Laughter erupted throughout the room as the auctioneer tried her best to make every item sound like it was just the thing you needed and to persuade the bidders to bid higher. In the end we raised $341.25 for the St. Aloysius Outreach Center, a Franciscan ministry for the homeless.
All too soon, it was time to say good-by. With full stomachs, and jaws sore from laughing, we gathered up our belongings and headed for the parking lot. Sharing faith and prayer, eating warm, comforting food, enjoying each other's company, and finding a fun way to help others; that's what a SSJ-TOSF Christmas is all about.