Happy Birthday!

April 20, 2020
Bears wear face masks too!
May 14, 2020
April 20, 2020
Bears wear face masks too!
May 14, 2020

by Sr Joan Jurski, OSF

May is the month of my birthday and I was thinking about how society and I think about birthdays. How do I celebrate and why do I celebrate this day? Is it just another year gone by?

I wondered about how the tradition of a birthday celebration got started. I did some research and found the beginning of the celebration of birth began with the Egyptians celebrating their Pharaohs. The Greeks then took this idea from the Egyptians and began using candles to respond to evil spirits. They gathered to celebrate the birth of their gods. They would light candles and then blow them out believing that the candles would scare away the evil spirits. This ritual has transitioned into wishes for good things. No more evil spirits.

The tradition of a cake began with the Germans in the 1700’s. It was part of a celebration for children, “kinderfeste.” It was not until 1893 that the singing of Happy Birthday started. Two schoolteachers wrote a poem entitled “Good Morning to all.” The words eventually changed to “Happy Birthday to you.”

An interesting bit of information, October 5 is considered the most common birthday date in the United States.

How do I personally think about my birthday? What do I celebrate? Thinking about this with some seriousness, I remind myself that my birth date is the beginning date of my life. I do believe God created me in a special way. I am unique among all other people. My birthday is a day for me to celebrate the gift of God’s love for me. It offers me a time to reflect. Psalm 46:10 reminds me “Be still and know I am God.” You are the gift of God.

Birthdays can also call me to a new beginning. It is a reminder that I am still alive despite certain aches and pains.  It gives me a chance to express thanks for life. It is a perfect time to reflect on my life experiences. What needs to change? What have I achieved?  It can be a time of transition. It is a time to sit with these questions.

In Scripture, we read of God’s call to us, “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then that you and your descendants may live by loving the Lord, your God, heeding His voice and holding fast to Him.”

Birthday celebrations are relational. They can also be a way of bringing friends and families together. This can happen at any birthday age.  We need happy times together. Therefore, I am happy that I am alive and pray others are happy for me as well. I had originally planned a really great celebration with family and friends because it is a special year. Then came the virus visiting and spoiled all plans. I will, however celebrate this birthday in some new and original way. It will be a virtual celebration with cake or no cake but I will still praise God for life. Happy Birthday to me and all other May “Taurus” folks.


Sister Joan Jurski


Sister Joan Jurski recently retired as the Director of the Regina Retreat and Conference Center after ten years.  She continues to guide mini-pilgrimages on the campus for visitors several times each year. Sister Joan was a teacher for 28 years and served in a variety of pastoral ministries for over 25 years. "Through each ministry - teaching, serving the homeless, parish and justice work, and spirituality, my service has been about people and living the message that 'Joy is the echo of God's light,'" she says.

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3 years ago

Happy Birthday, Joan! Glad we had the phone conversation!

3 years ago

HAppy Birthday, JOan! Glad we had the phone conversation!

Teresa J Aldahondo
3 years ago

Happy Birthday. I enjoyed reading the blog and happy to have known you in my lifetime.
Teresa from Cary

Faith cosky
3 years ago

Great blog, Joan. I’ve always known you to like a party so perhaps you can have a rain check on that. Yes, you are uniquely created and I am grateful to know you through the years. Stolat!

Sr Brigid O'Shea Merriman
3 years ago

Thank you for your lovely reflection on Birthdays. I treasure that you were born! Happy birthday month to you. Sent with my loving thoughts and prayers, Brigid

Sister Irie
3 years ago

Blessings to you Sr. Joan as you celebrate a new year, a new begining! Thank you for share your thoughts. Most informative and quite interesting.
Yes, we are never too old to celebrate our Birthday. God has truly blessed you with His love and graces. You are special in His sight. Wishing you a day filled with the love of family and friends, a day with surprises you did not expect. Holding you in my prayers! Happy Birthday! Stolat!!!!! and many more.

Maria P
3 years ago

Enjoyed your reflection on birthdays, Joan. Will miss your big party but will celebrate your special day with prayers, good wishes, and thanks to God for your life and all the goodness you bring to others.

3 years ago

Happy Birthday, lovely lady! Know that my thoughts and prayers will celebrate you, too! Thanks for the reflection!

3 years ago

Lovely blog, Joan. Thanks for sharing and Happy Birthday!!

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