Covid-19: Some news from the Congregation - N. 5

on 15 Apr, 2020
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 04/15/2020, Of various structures.- The situation of some countries in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Interactive map

Map as of 04/15/2020. Click on the image to see the interactive map of WHO.Map as of 04/15/2020. Click on the image to see the interactive map of WHO.

From the Vice-Province of Africa

April 5, 2020.- In Burkina Faso, there are 339 registered cases as of March 19. Fortunately, there are 90 recoveries and 17 deaths unfortunately.
In Cameroon, as of April 5, there are 650 cases, 9 deaths and 17 recoveries.
In Chad, as of April 4, there are 9 cases, 0 cured and 0 deaths.
In Côte d'Ivoire, from March 11 to April 5, there are 261 cases, 37 healings and 3 deaths.
In all these countries, the measures taken to contain or eradicate the virus are the same:
  • In the civilian sphere: Closure of markets, militant groups, schools, universities, vocational training centers, restaurants are only authorized to serve takeaway meals. Curfews are established from 7:00 pm to 5:00 am in Burkina Faso or from 9.00 pm to 5.00 am in Ivory Coast and Chad. The number of people who can gather is limited: not more than 50. The land and air borders are closed. In addition, we must respect the protective measures issued by Health Ministry.

In Burkina Faso, the affected cities are in quarantine.

  • At the church level, all places of worship are closed. The faithful listen to the Mass and Way of the Cross on the radio or television.

For the moment, none of our communities are infected.

It should be noted that national solidarity is being developed to overcome this pandemic. Particularly in Burkina: groups and individuals are helping the Health Ministry with donations in kind and in cash.

Together, let us pray for the eradication of the virus, which currently has no cure and causes so many deaths.

From the Province of France  

April 11, 2020, Sr. Véronique Margron, op,.- Holy Saturday: Day 26 of quarantine, more than 14,000 dead at least.

As in many places of the world, France lives in quarantine. With its courtship of dramas, impossible to accompany the grieving, inhuman suffering, more family and domestic violence. With its predicted social catastrophe, increasing poverty of the poor, hardship of the destitute, despite the generosity and expertise of many NGOs, including Caritas France, St. Egidio and Emmaus.

Our world is in turmoil and no one knows how we will get out of it. However, one thing is certain, it is important that we come out different. Everyone in this world and we too, looking at each other with greater responsibility and with an attention that is different.

In the province of France, we are "like everyone else" at the moment, preoccupied. Concerned about several sick sisters with Covid-19. Some are beginning to recover, others are in a delicate condition, two have died. The great majority of us, fortunately, are fine. But not without concern that this extremely small virus will continue to advance its destructive power. And, moreover, we worry about our families, people close to us, those to whom we are sent to announce in one way or another God's love, his protection and those whom we cannot reach physically. It is important then to try to be where we are and to live this restlessness, this anguish, being able to say only, on this Easter Eve, "My Lord and my God".

Moreover, religious life in France, as in Italy and Spain, is very much affected by this pandemic. In Paris, in a few days, more than ten Jesuit priests have died. And in other places, communities of older sisters and brothers and also monks or nuns in their abbeys have been slipped away by the virus... even from the most remote areas of our country.

Fortunately, these dark hours also give rise to an creative fraternity!

In a society where gratitude is expressed every day, outstanding solidarity is developed with health workers, people in isolation, homeless, elderly living alone and many others. 

And also, among the sisters in the Province. So, the phone, email, Skype and WhatsApp work. If yesterday one or the other could doubt the sense of these means of communication, I think today all will agree in recognizing their importance.

That's how we get our news from each other. And this is a real joy because imagination is great and many communities and sisters write chronicles and notes, others make videos, to give us their news and share their discoveries with all. In all of these, there are pearls, humor, insight, and of course, faith. And a lot of common sense. Truly, I thank all my sisters in the Province for the richness of the bonds that unite us. It further strengthens our friendship, our concern for each other and make us all breathe more comfortably.

The student sisters continue their studies through online classes.  Though it requires a lot of concentration, it is a real blessing.

The sisters in full activity: work in health care or in pastoral mission in hospitals and prisons, tell how they continue their service with courage, in this difficult and painful context.

Finally, the concern is also for what comes after. Not only because we will not get out of confinement overnight, picking up our agendas where we would have left them, but because the most fragile among us will be deeply marked by this painful moment. Especially all the older or sick sisters who will have to be kept in their rooms for long, weeks to protect themselves from the virus. Another creativity will then be needed to give strength to the body, to renew the desire to live, to find again the word, to restore the points of reference. I want to believe that with the professionals around us, many of whom have shown a wonderful presence during these months, we will find the way.

On this Holy Saturday of our world, we remain there, present to each other and to this time so disturbed. And to believe that then our God descends to join all the tears and all the anguish, making these words attributed to the poet Paul Claudel (1868 - 1955) our own: "It is believed that everything has ended but then there is always a robin that begins to sing". 

From Romania 

April 12, 2020. Sr. Victoria Balteanu*.- In Romania, at the moment the statistics of the Covid-19 are as follows: 4,057 confirmed cases, 406 cured and 157 dead.

At the Church level, through Bishops, parishes, Caritas... several projects are being carried out to support hospitals through the acquirement of mechanical respirators and material for decontamination. Likewise, places to accommodate patients have been offered so that they can be used in case of need.

The churches have been closed for 3 weeks. Priests celebrate mass without faithful and are broadcast on the internet and TV. At this moment, both the religious and the priests can still receive communion, while the faithful can only make spiritual communion.

We are living a very different moment, thanks to social communication networks, internet and TV, we can get closer to God and feel united as a Church, each one from his/her own home.

Nature is less contaminated, as a large part of the population is in quarantine, we can breathe cleaner and healthier air. It is a propitious time to make a general cleanliness of our body, mind, and also of our house, community, family... to look at ourselves and others with love.

I ask myself: am I able to recognize the time that the Lord is giving me at this moment? For me and for others?

* Sister Victoria Balteanu, from the permanent community of Valdieri, is living an experience of inter-congregational mission, in Butea and Scheia - Romania, since November 2019, collaborating with the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Passion of Jesus.