The coronavirus pandemic has certainly come to disrupt our daily lives big time! As Sr. Anne mentioned in her letter to the congregation, our plans and dreams have been thwarted by a tiny, invisible enemy. The future seems very uncertain and each one is faced with the anxiety of her own vulnerability. No one is perfectly safe. So, for one’s own good and the good of those around us, in solidarity, we take the necessary precautions imposed on us by our local, state, and national governments: WE STAY HOME! It is a moral imperative.
For me and 24 other religious women, men and priests from around the world (Taiwan, Malawi, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Ireland, the USA), this pandemic cut short by 7 weeks our much longed-for sabbatical program. The Pat Guidon Center (in conjunction with the Oblate School of Theology) was ordered to close down and everyone was asked to leave. Those from Africa have had to stay in the USA because there are no flights back to their native countries. The Irish got out just in time, and those from all over the United States who had to cross State borders are now in a fourteen-day quarantine in their respective communities. While we were all very disappointed at such a turn of events, we are none-the-less thankful for the 2 grace-filled months we enjoyed together.
Now, I am back in my community at Spent Wing. To try and live this time of confinement with joy and good humor, we have structured our time with personal prayer, online mass, cooking, exercising, community prayer, etc. We have also begun doing our shopping online to avoid, as much as possible, having to go out unnecessarily. So far, we’re surviving! But these are unusual and difficult times where we must be rooted in faith, hope and, most especially, charity which holds everything together.
A special thought goes out to all the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus around the world. We remain deeply united in prayer with each of you asking God for your health and safety.
Sister Cynthia Johnston, sscj
San Antonio, Texas