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


South Africa (Province of St. Vincent de Paul)

It was like a dream: we heard about a virus that causes a serious respiratory disease in China, in the city of Wuhan, and that killed many people, including a doctor. We had a feeling of fear and compassion for the Chinese people, without imagining that the famous virus was going to cross borders, without a visa, to reach other continents. A few months later, the news reached our ears: the virus had already landed in some African countries, including South Africa, our country of mission.

During this time of lockdown, we are in the house. We had the opportunity to pray a lot for the world, to do adoration in turn, throughout the day, to offer the whole world to the Lord, and more especially the people infected by Coronavirus, the health workers, the heroes who risked their lives to save the lives of others. This time of lockdown challenges us and invites us to always turn our gaze to the Most High, Almighty Master of life, and to think of the poorest who have nothing to eat at home.

At West Rand, in the house for pregnant girls, the Sisters accompanied the girls in labour to the maternity ward. We even saw the birth of a baby during this time of lockdown.

East Rand Brakpan is one of our homes for the elderly, sick and abandoned women. During the lockdown, all the workers were confined to their families, while the Sisters who work in this home remained in the Centre, serving the elderly women who are sick and abandoned by their families. The Sisters provide all the services: cooking, cleaning, daily care for the women and taking those who are sick to the hospital. During this time of lockdown, we even lost one of our residents, she was found dead in her bed in the morning. In spite of the work and fatigue, the dimension of prayer was not given up.

The Lord opened His Generous Hand by sending us donors in order to help the poor. We received food and went out into the streets and the shops around to distribute it to the poor. Or we would invite some poor families to come and get something to eat. We did this very carefully to avoid infection.

Miracles also happened: at the beginning of the lockdown, a catering firm that prepares meals for airlines sent two large refrigerated trucks to deliver food and prepared dishes. This helped us to feed people. Another time, a large truck full of nappies arrived at our Centre to deliver about 5,526 nappies for our residents, not to mention the other people who come every day to drop off something for the poor. The Lord really blessed us in a special way during this time of lockdown.

We experience the presence of God very tangibly in this time of crisis in the world and especially next to us where the cry of the poor is heard. God is there to comfort us and give us hope. We never cease to thank Him for the miracles of each day.

Sister Marie-Josée Ntumba

Region of Mali

On 16/05/20, the Minister of Health informed us of a total of 835 confirmed cases of Covid-19, 48 deaths, 479 recoveries, and 1838 people affected and lockdown was imposed. We, SCJM of the Region of Mali, stick to the measures of hygiene (hand washing, masks…) and social distancing.

And how do we experience this ’corona’ atmosphere? Schools are closed, but of course the Health Centre continues its work. The children talk about ’continuous strike’: for almost 2 years, the public schools have been on strike because of the teachers’ complaints.

On the radio, they talk about ’corona’ and they are silent about the war... However, more than ever, the attacks continue with many civilian victims... The macabre situation continues: Covid-19 victims, victims of banditry and terrorism. And already people talk about ’soon’: post-Corona victims, i.e. victims of famine, economic crisis, unemployment, insufficient schooling.

Never have we lived such a time of Lent... Even less a time of Passion and Easter without the faithful, without baptisms... In union with the whole Congregation, the Sisters of our Region made a retreat during Holy Week. Most of the Sisters had never experienced a retreat without a preacher. To their great surprise, they discovered the richness of Lectio Divina shared every day. The main theme for each day was: Jesus of Nazareth. Thus, together we shared the Passion of Christ, which is more than ever, now also, the Passion of our world: to follow Jesus in his suffering is also to keep all our suffering brothers and sisters in our prayer. To go through the Passion with Him is to know that at the end there is Life, because Jesus is Alive... It is an experience of faith that has marked us. What a grace to become even more aware that we are SCJM, Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary... (The “C” of Charity prompted me to add: Companions of Jesus, the Living, the Risen One).

Yes, this is an unforgettable time for all of us. We continue to pray for the sick...

Sister Marguerite Tubale

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