The Radiance of SCJM Charism in the face of Covid-19! (Continued)


Anglo-Irish Region

In the beginning of the Coronavirus Pandemic - Covid 19, we experienced a period of shock, disbelief and fear, as we began to hear through the media the horror that this tiny, invisible piece of matter was causing throughout the world and especially when the first death in Ireland was reported.

We were asked to stay at home in Ireland from mid-March and keep social distancing. We therefore closed our doors to all who come to Suaimhneas for therapies, meditation, and courses. This shock took days to settle as we watch and listened incessantly to all news and media coverage that filled our community. It took some days to reconcile that this virus was here and will visit many places through its stay. How we respond to this new visitor is important for our survival as a human family.

In the midst of the initial fear and uncertainty, our leaders in Ireland set the scene. As a community, we began to feel the influence of their leadership and their capacity to convey a sense of calm but measured response. We felt ‘held’ in what seemed an impossible situation. Their honesty, transparency and lack of political rhetoric gave us hope. We were all in this together was the constant message. Their request to us was to actively participate in our own context, to stay at home, keep safe, maintain social/physical distance, to support one another and to give a sense of hope and encouragement in the small but essential ways. People throughout the country are responding to this in many unique and admirable ways.

With the security that we are being held in hope and trust, we see this time as an opportunity for us to be practical and creative. We began to reorganise our lives around this new experience

  • We began to engage with the fear that family, friend and SCJM community of contacting the virus in a more constructive way. To find new ways of supporting and feeling supported in our physical distancing through technology. Remaining connected while staying apart.
  • Suaimhneas that was once filled with activity, was now busy on the phone, WhatsApp or Zoom, connecting to others in support.
  • We continued our mediation program through video recordings of the sessions.
  • Supporting people on the phone who are finding this period difficult and arranging professional referrals as appropriate.
  • Supporting the frontline staff in hospitals and care areas by our prayers, letters and cards of thanks.
  • Through Networks we were able to support an initiative that provided the local hospitals and nursing homes with well-deserved and needed practical items to make life a little easier for staff; e.g. kettle, sandwich makers, etc.
  • We are full of gratitude for springtime that we can have this time in the garden, to plant, to weed and to tend to the soil. We have the time to observe and listen to the daffodils and tulips speak to us of its fragility and essence, reminding us of the cycle of life.

Many had been asking the question where God is in all of this. God is suffering with us and speaks to us in the helping hand, the sacrifice that one is making to make another safe and in the promise of spring as is revealed to us through nature every morning. God is in the invitation to look again at our priorities and how we value life at all stages.

Perhaps this is the opportunity afforded to us to listen to the Earth and enable us to experience the God of Love, Compassion and Tenderness in and through the whole of humanity.

Kathleen O’Meara, in the poem below, seems to capture the opportunities contained in our present situation:

And people stayed home and read books and listened
and rested and exercised and made art and played
and learned new ways of being
and stopped and listened deeper
someone meditated, someone prayed
someone danced
someone met their shadow
and people began to think differently and people healed
and in the absence of people who lived in ignorant ways,
dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
even the earth began to heal
and when the danger ended
and people found each other
grieved for the dead people
and they made new choicesand dreamed of new visions
and created new ways of lifeand healed the earth completely
just as they were healed themselves.

Sent by Sisters Anne Lynch and Mai Finlay

To be continued...

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