In early December 1777, Presentation foundress, Nano Nagle, proposed, “Let’s have a crowd of guests for Christmas dinner. If we used the new classrooms with all the tables and benches, we would have room for 50,” Nano went on. “I’d like to invite 50 of the very poorest people we can find. We won’t be able to afford anything elaborate, but we could give them a good dinner. What do you think?”
This gathering soon became a tradition for years to come and, today, the Dubuque Sisters of the Presentation continue that tradition by inviting residents from the Dubuque Rescue Mission, Hope House and Almost Home to a delicious luncheon every year. On December 15, around 25 residents enjoyed a wonderful lunch of roast beef, mashed potatoes, fruit, vegetables and cake! All present enjoyed visiting visiting with one another and singing Christmas carols. Each resident was gifted with a bag full of necessities and a stocking full of goodies.
“Being a part of the annual Christmas dinner always brings a feeling of pride and satisfaction that through the generosity of our sisters, associates, families and friends, we, as a community have followed in the footsteps of our foundress, Nano Nagle. By inviting these wonderful guests to our home, I hope they receive not only our gifts of food and clothes but also a feeling of acceptance and welcome. We are grateful for all your prayers and support,” reflects Sister Anne McCormick.
In the true spirit of Nano, let us invite and encourage each other to prepare and share a meal with the poor of your neighborhood.