Prayer for Thanksgiving Day

Every Thanksgiving I pray/read the following poem written by a friend and co-worker at Lutheran Social Services.  We were both working with difficult cases, she with children of abuse.  She was tall, slim, with beautiful laughing, blue eyes and short cropped natural curly hair.  She borrowed incense and palm from me for Sunday services at her church, and shared her Indian sweet grass and sweat lodge experiences.  Her sensate, hands on, child-like personality drew scarred children to her for healing. We shared stories, laughter, God experiences, our similar and our different backgrounds.  Karen surprised us all with the following poem placed on our desks one Thanksgiving.  Her life was snuffed out suddenly when her compact car went under a semi on her way to work one morning.

Prayer for Thanksgiving Day

Wonderful God, Gracious Father,
can it be, is it true?… is it really true?
In the list, included in the list of angels,
shining stars, fire, hail, snow,
rain, stormy winds,
mountain majesty and trees.

And did I say trees, Your wonderful
beautiful strong trees.
Especially oak and ginkgo.
The ginkgo that at this moment hugs the
foundation we sing forth from.

Wild beasts and tame animals…
And my dog.
And creeping things. Yes!
And flying birds, Yes!
and stars and cerulean blue and alizarin
crimson and stars. Amethyst and stars
and galactic black holes and cosmic dust
and oceans and dew drops and leaf mold.

And in this list, this incomplete
infinite list, Yes!
in all your pulsating universe, Yes!
it’s true! It’s true! You and me and we, and  even me…I fit in too!  And we all
you and Your church,
Yes, we all fit together and you hold
us together In all and through all things.
And in Your plan,
in the dance of the universe,
rushing into Your wide! Wide! open arms,
its true!

Oh yes! Its true!…and for all this we
give thanks
O Lord to You! Amen.

Karen Ann Spicer-Deske
Thanksgiving, 1994

5 thoughts on “Prayer for Thanksgiving Day

  1. At our Oblate meeting, Sunday in Bloomington, Sr. Helen led us in Lectio, with Colossians 1:12-20 from the readings for the feast of Christ the King. As I read this lovely poem, I’m called back to the reading from Colossians, and so much to be thankful for. What a gift this friend was and she lives on in her poem. Thank you, Sr. Catherine, for sharing it!


  2. Hello my name is Whitnee smith in 1994 Karen was my art therapist I was molested at 5 after she passed away I never went back therapy I have only heard amazing things about Karen and I would love to know more about her I am one of her miracle children 4.0 law student because of her hard work and dedication.are there are any archives or files online where I can find her photo ?


    • Dear Whitnee,

      Karen was very dear to me, too. I attended her funeral with other LSSI counselors and visited the burial place together after that. Shortly afterward, I left Lutheran to come to our new Monastery in Rock Island as director of the retreat house. So I have lost track of people from there.

      For more information about Karen, you might contact the Lutheran Social Service office in Peoria. You might also look for Karen’s husband and/or son, both of whom lived in Peoria at the time of her death.

      Also, if you wish, I am happy to talk with you. Just let me know.


      Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB


      • Dear Whitnee Smith and Sister Catherine Cleary…. My name is Andy Spicer and Karen was my sister. I I was the youngest of 5 so Karen was my big sister and took great care of me….Whitnee, so great to hear how well you are doing ! Karen is surely very proud of you and looking down on you from heaven with a big huge smile on her face 🙂 Besides growing up with Karen in the Chicago Suburbs and experiencing so many wonderful memories, I also had the opportunity to live with her for a short period in Peoria as I attended Bradley University. At her house, Karen never shared the names of the people she worked with but Whitnee I know she loved you very much as she would frequently talk about and pray for her kids. It was almost like you were her sister and part of the family. Karen would often talked about the many beautiful traits of the kids she worked with. Sister Catherine Cleary, I know your name also as Karen often mention your name. I know Karen loved you also like a sister as she often told us how loving and wonderful of a person you are.

        I miss Karen very much but I have never forgotten her. I remember how much love and respect she had for this physical earth, children and a great appreciation for the races. She also loved Jesus with all her heart and trusted Grace. For this I know she is in the palm of God’s hand and doing fine. I also know this because in the Summer of 1997 we experienced a wonderful moment. My wife and 2 year old son Jack went to visit Karen’s grave site that Summer. It was 2 years after the loss of Karen and I was still somewhat struggling with the loss so we thought a visit to the Cemetery might do some good. My wife was pregnant with Jack at the time of Karen’s death so Jack never had the chance to meet her…. However, as we walk in the cemetery trying to locate Karens headstone my wife and I kept jokingly repeating,.. Alright Karen… where are you.? It had only been 2 years since the funeral but the Cemetery looked like a blur to me on the day of the funeral so I couldn’t recall exactly where the grave site was. We casually strolled up and down the rows having trouble finding the stone. As we kept up our search, Jack wandered ahead helping us look for the stone… All of the sudden we heard Jack up on the hill in the distance talking softy to someone. We couldn’t make out what he was saying but he without question was having a conversation. As we caught up to him there was no one with him but sure enough he had found Karens stone, This itself was amazing because Jack really couldn’t read at the time. We asked Jack what he was saying and who he was talking to and he just looked up at us and put up his hand pointing at us and said… ” Karen is ok, everything is going to be ok” We asked him again who he was talking to and he just kept saying…Karen is ok, everything is going to be ok….From that day on i was able to move on with my life. Funny how God communicated thru a child to give us the message that everything was ok… There is something so sweet and pure about this…He was too young to explain what happened and to this day does not remember the situation. However I believe this was God’s way of communicating… Thru a young child who couldn’t really explain what he just experienced but was able to get us the message that our beautiful Karen was ok, and that everything is going to be ok. I will remember and trust that day always…

        Well sorry for the long message but it made my day stumbling on this site and reading your posts about Karen… If either of you would like to contact us we can be reached at or my cell at 847-921-1995. I have many many stories and pictures of about Karen that I’m willing to share if your interested. God bless you both.

        Andy Spicer


  3. Dear Andy, It’s such a MIRACLE to hear from you! I plan to answer you by email. Here’s my email address: Don’t hesitate to write! Sister Catherine


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