Covid-19: Some news from the Congregation - N. 2

on 29 Mar, 2020
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03/28/2020, General Government and of various structures.- May our hope in the Lord continue to strengthen us, welcoming the words of Pope Francis in the extra ordinary “Urbi et Orbi” blessing on March 27. "He brings serenity into our storms, because with God life never dies.

We share with you the experience of our sisters from different communities or structures in this time of global health crisis. We thank you for the information and continue to pray for all the people who are sick, deceased and their families, health workers and for all those who are suffering the consequences of this crisis.

Interactive map

Map as of 03/29/2020. Click on the image to see the interactive map of Johns Hopkins UniversityMap as of 03/29/2020. Click on the image to see the interactive map of Johns Hopkins University

From the Province of Bucaramanga

March 24.- Our Province is following all the regulations issued by the Ministry of Health, the Governors and Mayors of each Department and Municipality where we are present. There are cases of the virus in the departments where we are present: Santander: 3 cases, North Santander: 8 cases and Magdalena: 2 cases. So far, we have no reports of Sisters infected.

In each local community, the Sisters keep the quarantine and take advantage of this time to strengthen fraternal life, intensify prayer, increase faith, encourage study at the personal and community level, formulate Community Project, propitiate spaces for dialogue, look at the organization of the house as a responsibility of all, study our documents and virtually accompany our collaborators and families with messages of faith and trust to assure the closeness of God in their life.

La Turena, Provincial House. Adequate measures have been taken to avoid reaching difficult situations as this is a house of high-risk since many of our older sisters live here. Therefore, all the meetings foreseen in the Schedule have been cancelled, there is no celebration of the Eucharist on Sundays with the participation of the neighbors. We have agreed to take into account the hygiene measures when entering and leaving the house. No groups are received in the House of Encounters. Visits to this house have been restricted and each community has increased spaces of prayer.

We are all exposed, therefore, it is important to take care of our health, to stay at home, to be attentive to the orientations, keep calm with total trust in the Lord.

Province of Manizales - The Presentation Clinic, Manizales

March 25.- We received the news from the sisters in The Presentation Clinic, Manizales that the sisters are working only half day attending to emergencies at this time of pandemic. Scheduled surgeries are canceled and clinic for outpatients is closed. Everything is ready and is on alert to attend to the possible cases of Covid-19, the logistics are very strict. We are all on high alert. So far in the Department of Caldas (to which we belong) there are 7 confirmed cases.

The sisters thank God, very united with all in prayer and greetings.

Sisters from the Philippine Mission

March 25.- Dear Sisters, Happy feast of Annunciation! Along with Mary, our Mother, we continue to call on the name of the Lord to protect us and all those in the forefronts especially doctors , nurses, other health care staff and those involved in different services risking their lives to serve the sick that the Lord protect and take care of them during these moments.

Here we are doing well both in communities of Malibay (Manila) and Songkoy (Pangasinan). Of date, in Philippines there are about 500-600 cases reported, with 30 deaths. In Manila, we lost three committed doctors while serving infected patients. Here in the Province of Pangasinan, where Sonkoy community belongs, five cases are reported; two deaths, others are recovering. In Calasiao, nearby city, no positive cases are reported. The entire region is under locked down, no public transport. The government has issued a Pass for a family to go out in case of emergency, once or twice a week on a designated day. All are requested to stay home. Many of our people have no means to support themselves, no food and other necessities … government is trying to provide food for the people.

We celebrate daily liturgy of the Word and communion service in the community. On March 25, we celebrated the sacrament of Reconciliation and Eucharist by Fr. Dexter Carino, our parish priest, after not having Mass for two weeks.

Being in solidarity with everyone especially with all those persons affected with Covid-19 we cry to God for healing and mercy … Thank you for your concern and care for us. United with all of you in the love and intercession of blessed Marie Poussepin.

From the Vice-Province of Aconcagua: Chile and Argentina

March 26.- To date, thank God, none of our sisters, nor the laity who share our mission are infected with COVID-19.

At the level of the educational institutions: classes have been suspended by the order of the Ministry of Education since March 16 until further notice; it was requested that the schools be open and functioning with ethical shifts to guarantee the daily food given to the students. This measure was modified since each of the families of these students was given a basket with food, which has permitted schools to remain closed to protect their staff and their families.

At the ecclesiastical level, Eucharist and all pastoral activities have been suspended and Masses can only be celebrated privately. In the community of the Vice-Provincial House, the parish priest is celebrating every day, this Eucharist is transmitted via Facebook and thus shared with many people who join in this transmission. Sr. Nilda Miranda Romero, Vice-Provincial Superior sent a message to each one of the sisters, inviting them to live this time with responsibility, obeying the indications given by the health ministry, becoming aware of the responsibility to take care of ourselves in order to care for others, especially those who are at high risk.

The sisters who work at the parish do not function, keep the voluntary quarantine since in Chile this measure is not yet taken in a general way; since Monday a curfew has been decreed from 10:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. the following day.

Yesterday, March 25, an obligatory quarantine was decreed for only 7 communes of the Metropolitan Region. The sisters of the vice-provincial house must comply with it as of March 26 and this was decreed for 7 days and other measures will be evaluated. Most probably, according to experts, this is a kind of a test measure in order to later decree what everyone is waiting for, which will be a general quarantine to continue protecting all Chileans. To date in Chile, there are 1306 infected people and three deaths.

In Argentina, where the community of La Favorita, Mendoza is located, the government has decreed a general quarantine since Friday, March 20. To date, there are 502 infected people and 6 deaths. The two sisters who are carrying out the mission in Mendoza are well.

Province of Los Andes

March 26.- The painful reality that we are living at a global level and especially in the countries where we are, has led us to place ourselves in different scenarios: as people infected, as their relatives, as health workers and all those who continue to provide their services for the good of the community, as people who do not have economic resources and in this emergency they cannot go out to work, since many of them are street vendors, car cleaners and other independent workers who earn for one day at a time.

How are the Sisters? The sisters are well, thank God, taking care of their health and the health of others "staying at home", maintaining the preventive measures given by the Ministry of Health, informing themselves from sources that are truthful and attentive to the directives of the Episcopal Conferences.

We have intensified the times of prayer and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, of reflection, community study, sharing and recreating together in daily life.

The sisters who offer health care services continue their mission, giving their time generously and risking their own health. Other sisters accompany people, especially those who live alone, through social networks with messages, prayers, words of comfort that transmit strength. From the parish, young people, women and families are invited to pray the rosary, to join in adoration from their homes, messages are sent through networks to groups in the parishes. The parish accompany the Catechists through phone calls.

Bolivia and COVID-19. The confirmed cases were reported in the country on March 10, 2020 for the first time; they were detected in patients from the departments of Oruro and Santa Cruz who had traveled from Italy and the United States.

On March 12, Thursday, the government announced the implementation of seven decisions to stop the advance of the infection, including the suspension of educational activities until March 31, as well as the suspension of flights to and from Europe from March 14 Saturday. From March 22, a total quarantine has been imposed on the entire country, since 32 people were already infected, most of them are in Santa Cruz. The number of infected people is increasing every day.

On the night of March 25, President Janine Añez declared a State of health emergency for the entire country, with immediate application, which more radical measures already imposed in the quarantine. It will last until April 15, 2020.

The measures are: People between the ages of 18 and 65 will be able to go out to the markets; it will be open from Monday to Friday according to Identity Card numbers. The markets will remain closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

This decision worried us since we have two communities with sisters over 65 years old. The solidarity of the people did not make us wait. We can count on the help of parish associations, especially lay people who offer to do us shopping and share with us basic food items generously. Providence never fails us.

We, sisters are well staying in the community praying, encouraging older adults who live alone through telephone conversations. The children, part of the childhood missionary groups and adolescents are given different subjects and small commitments to live with their families to safeguard their missionary spirit. The "Marie Poussepin" lay people are studying the theme of holiness through WhatsApp. This is the theme for our Meeting in May.

The hospital in Chipiriri is run by one of our sisters who is in charge of the hospital despite the risk she faces from the virus.

We are very united with all at this time of health crisis in the world and may God protect us.

We are grateful to the General Government for this space on the web page which allows us to live in communion at this historical moment which has surprised us. We have followed attentively the messages of the different Structures on the reality that is lived in each place, an alarming situation that unites us in prayer with a hope for a good end. 

From Rome

March 28.- Since the sending of the previous information we have been 3 days without internet connection, surely as a consequence of the greater use of the media by the confinement, but this has not prevented us from living this time in communion with all of you. We continue in prayer with the Pope, Church of Rome, with UISG (International Union of Superiors General) and with the whole Congregation.

We continue to pray for all our communities, for the sick and those who care for them. Even in our solitude and pain, God is close to us as we have become one single humanity with different names and faces. Let us pray for Congregations and families who are experiencing suffering, sickness and death at this moment for the Lord is our rock, our fortress and strength; He is our stronghold, in whom we take refuge. (Cf. Ps 17).

 Then Jesus wept. So the Jews said, "See how, he loved him!” Jn 11: 35-36

"At the cemetery... 4th day after death.
The crowd, moved, compassionate, comforting the two sisters.
Everyone knows them. They are from the village.
So the crowd, at home, on the road, at the cemetery, everywhere...
Martha's table has a good reputation.
Lazarus is a friend of Jesus who frequents their house.
Such a dear friend, such a warm family...
And then the misfortune struck.
Jesus wept. He was moved deeply.
Crying, tears,
Tenderness, affection,
Deep love,
Emotion, shivering,
Suffering, heart vibration ...
Shock... cries ... silence ...
Isn't this what we live in these days of Great Lent...
Where... the only movement ... is of coffins,
Where... alone, families are powerless
Faced with such a terrible grief ?
No accompaniment,
No last kiss...
No goodbye, no farewell...
No prayers in Church or in the house,
Strictest isolation says the declaration...
A celebration within... a few months...
In a few weeks for the best possible...
What an injustice !
Jesus, you have experienced the death of a loved one.
Already with Joseph, your attentive father.
Then with Lazarus
You don't cheat with your tears.
Jesus, a friend, a man.
Your tears, Son of God,
Accompany our tears.
Thank you Jesus for your tears.
Thank you Jesus for your promise :
"Come out ! "
It's time to be born!
"I am the resurrection and the life !"
Sr. Françoise-Chantal Lelimouzin o.p.
At this time of Pandemic