Heartfelt Gratitude

By Sister Mary Alyce Koval


And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’And he replied: ‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.’ So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

From “Gate of the Year” by Minnie Louise Haskins

I first became acquainted with this poem when I recited it as a student at Ursuline High School. At 16 years old, the only doors I knew were those that opened to homes and classrooms.

After entering the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown following graduation, it didn’t take long to realize that there were more doors to new adventures in my life than I could ever imagine. In my 50 years as an Ursuline Sister, I would learn very quickly to put “my hand into the Hand of God” and to “trod gladly” into the new adventures ahead of me.

From my years of classroom teaching, to more than 30 years of elementary school administration, to the opportunities to serve in leadership in the Ursuline Community, to the women and children whose lives have touched me in the past seven years at Beatitude House, I reflect often on the students, teachers, Sisters and friends who have been such an integral part of the confidence with which I “trod gladly into the night.”

Classroom stories, administrative challenges, community blessings, and the daily struggles of the poor are the tangible hands of God for me as I greet each “breaking of day” with thanksgiving. My heart is filled with gratitude.