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24 June 2021

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Happy Feast!

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As we celebrate the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus this year,

 

let us celebrate all the blessings of the year 2020-21.

 

We have grown through this year of the pandemic:

 

we have renewed our life in many ways;

 

we have realised like never before how much we need each other;

 

we have found new ways of reaching out to one another;

 

we have learnt to cross frontiers using technology;

 

we have strengthened communion within the Congregation

 

and grown in the awareness of being a global community of SCJMs…

 

and countless other blessings that have their source

 

in the Heart of Jesus.

 

With a sense of immense gratitude to God, I wish you, my Sisters,

 

a Very Happy Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus!

 

Sr. Lucy Jacob

Brussels, June 2021


Laudato Sí Week celebration in Legazpi - May 2021

THE SCJM IN LEGAZPI, PHILIPPINES, RESPONDING TO A VIGOROUS CALL OF CARING FOR OUR COMMON HOME….

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The sisters ventured anew, in these trying times of pandemic, to advocate and promote the “Care of our Common Home” as their active participation in the LAUDATO SÍ WEEK 2021 celebration. Since Legazpi City, Albay, is placed under general community quarantine, it was not possible to organize a community outreach/activity in a bigger and wider scale, not even in the Church premises or any local zones. Hence, the sisters collaborated with the family beneficiaries of the SCJM apostolate. It was then discerned and they have chosen a family (Michelle Malaga and her family) with spacious surroundings, that could possibly participate in clean-up drive and home gardening, at the same time pray with them, plant with them, be nourished with shared meals, joy, laughter and each other’s presence. It was indeed a wonderful Family Day at Home with Nature and A Day to Remember. “God Has Gifted Us To Give”. (A Theme engrained to celebrate the Philippines’ 500 years of Christianity.)

The sisters spent the whole day with the family in Malilipot Albay from 9:10 in the morning until 6:00 in the evening on May 22, 2021. They explained to the family the whole day’s schedule of activities and the purpose and meaning of the said event. In this matter, the family expressed that though they actually have space for garden, still, they do not have proper methods, ideas or approaches towards home gardening and planting fruit trees that could possibly yield harvest and income in the future.

The day started with a short prayer to Mother Earth, translated into their local dialect “Bicol”. Then, it was followed by a few minutes’ orientation that highlighted the importance of growing vegetables and other fruit trees; and also, the vital roles of the elders in giving the example to the young ones by living life in God and with the nature. To strengthen the family with team work spirit, the family members were divided into three groups, and one Sister was assigned to work with them.

After the group work, they all came together, cleaned the area and carried and re-used the logs by keeping them around the plants for protection. Also, logs protect the soil from being washed away and when decayed, they become nutrients to the soil. On the other hand, the sisters, together with the family members, have agreed to take care of the plants alternately among them. They have planted vegetables such as lady fingers, beans, eggplants; and also chili, lemon grass and dragon fruit; fruits trees like mangoes, guava, lemon; and flowering plants too.

Aside from praying and planting, they shared the blessings of cooking together, having meals and snacks together, and sharing their cooked food, wrapped with banana leaves, with the neighbors. It was also an opportunity to promote the SCJM charism to everyone the sisters encountered, especially the young ones. The sisters and the family, together with few friends, had their closing prayer in the afternoon, before the snacks, with the theme of the Holy Spirit-The Gifts and The Fruits. Then they spent some time together, sharing personal, family and friends’ stories, their feelings, ideas and experiences.

Above all, we thanked God, through the intercession of St. Joseph The Worker, for the day’s good weather. It was a miracle, since before that event and even after that day, there were rainy days and unfavorable weather conditions.

DIOS MABALOS PO! (GOD’S BLESSINGS!)

Sr. Madelene Nueza

 

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Situation of COVID-19 in India and Pakistan

Present Situation in Pakistan of COVID-19 / 06 May 2021

We are waiting for the day when there will be shouts of joy and victory everywhere, when we can begin to live a normal life, a life free of fear and anxiety; when we will say to each other: “Do not be afraid; everything is fine”. It is no more “rejoice and be glad”. May it happen and happen soon! This is a wish and a prayer before the Lord of mercy and compassion.

At present the situation is so scary and depressing. The third wave of the virus is much more contagious, infectious and life-threatening. There are no more signs and symptoms that we had been hearing about. So one does not know who the carrier is and therefore people are not serious and careful about it. Last year when it started people were fearful so they took care of themselves and thus Pakistan did not suffer so much compared to some other countries. Unfortunately, when the virus is much stronger than before, people are less careful and prudent. Looking at the irresponsible attitude and behavior of the people, the government of Pakistan has become more active and strict about it. It is trying its level best to keep the people on the track with measures such as the following:

- All shops are closed at 6:00 pm, where as in the past certain shopping centers were open till late at night.

- Every Saturday and Sunday all the markets are completely closed.

- The transport is allowed with 50% of passengers only.

- The parks and public places are closed.

- Vaccine is available for all above 40 years of age. People have not to go very far to get it. Now we hear that the government schools will be turned into vaccination centers so people have not to wait in long queues for their turn. 

- Now as Eid, the Muslim festival, is approaching so there will be complete lockdown from 8th – 16th May.

- The army is also involved to keep a check. The people violating the regulations have to pay a heavy fine.

All our communities are having special adoration. Some sisters have their personal devotional prayers also. May the Lord listen to our humble cry and clear our planet from this deadly virus!

Sent by Sr. Victoria Rehmat

An update on Situation of Covid-19, India / 05 May 2021

We are going through the worst ever global crisis in our life time. The first phase of Covid-19 was bad enough but this second phase has become simply uncontrollable and the death rate is rising hour by hour. Everywhere we see the gloom of death hanging in the air. Two of our sisters have been snatched away from us so mercilessly. Our hearts are not yet healed and we are still mourning. Every day we get news from our communities that one or the other is infected by this dreadful virus; as also in other congregations, parishes and villages. There are villages where the entire population is affected by the virus. We also hear of the deaths in our own neighborhood and of the parents and relatives of our students and staff, people whom we have known. Few of our sisters have lost their dear ones. Many priests and religious, whom we have known, succumbed to this dreadful disease. Every day we wake up with the news of death. We are all anxious about our family members, especially in the villages, but we entrust them in the Mighty Hand of God. There sisters still in the hospital being treated; others are quarantined in their communities and treated under the guidance of doctors. Some of these communities are in the villages where many are infected. Sisters keep instructing people telephonically on how to care for their family members and neighbors when they are infected. It is unfortunate that many of the villagers do not have access to proper medication and treatment.

Our sisters involved in health care services are there, caring for the victims day and night, at the risk of their own lives. We are worried about them and pray much for them, and at the same time we feel proud of them and surrender them in the merciful hand of God. Although many states are under partial lock down, the superiors of bigger communities take risk and go out to procure things for the needs of the sisters. They also help neighboring communities with provisions. 

This explosion of the virus of death around us has left us feeling powerless in the face of its violent attack. There is shortage of ICU beds, Oxygen supply, and availability of doctors. It is a heart rending scene to see the lines of ambulances and stretchers carrying the patients, standing in queues, outside hospitals, pleading and crying for help. Testing for Covid has broken down due to shortage of necessary means and testing agencies are refusing to take samples as they do not have the means to test them.

In this agonizing situation God alone is the help we can count on. We believe that He is there and He will help us to ride through this terrible storm. All will be well in his own time and in his own way. All our communities are concerned about the whole province, the congregation and the world and have chain adoration the whole day and find our strength and support in him who said, “Do not be afraid, trust in me”.

Sent by Sr. Tessy Edayal 



The relentless spread of Covid 19 in India…

30/04/2021

(The government of India apparently has placed a ban on giving out news of the pandemic situation in the country, except by those authorised by it. So, our sisters are not able to write freely. The following is an extract from a letter that came in just before the ban, sent by Sr. Mary Joseph, the Provincial of Ranchi.)

“As I sit down to pen a few lines on the second wave of Covid 19 and its negative impact on human lives in India, I am distracted and distressed by the siren of ambulances plying on the road taking patients from the hospital or to the hospital, to get them admitted somewhere for treatment. The situation is very bad and it is getting out of control day by day. The number of infected cases keep escalating, hospitals are overwhelmed, beds are not available, required drugs are not found in medical stores, oxygen supply is not sufficient… Those in authority are trying their best, but not able to bring it under control. Unlike the first wave of Covid 19, the second one is deadly and the death rate is very high. As we read news and watch on television what goes on in the country, we keep calling out to the Lord for his mercy and compassion on the world...

The departure of our two sisters in two days, victims of Covid, has devastated us… In the midst of pain, sorrow, uncertainty, anxiety and fear what we realise is there is nothing on this earth that can hold us… God alone! God has a plan for us!

At this moment we rely on the words of the Psalmist: "The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (Ps. 34:18). We find solace in Revelation 21:4: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

We are grateful to our SCJM sisters from all over the world for being with us at this painful phase in the life of the province. We remember you for your prayerful support through phone calls, messages and consoling words. May the Good Lord bless you with good health and keep you safe under His wings!”



Coronavirus in India

Avril 2021

Brussels

26 April 2021

Dear Sisters,

Several of you have been inquiring about the situation in India with assurances of your prayerful support for the country and for our Sisters in the provinces of Ranchi and Delhi in particular. Thank you very much for your interest and concern.

I do not have to go into the statistics of the pandemic situation in the country. The media is full of it and you are well informed, I am sure.

Going by the news coming from both the provinces, our Sisters are living through a very difficult time, as we can well understand. The sudden departure of Sr. Crescentia Xalxo and Sr. Lidwin Mary Rodrigues in quick succession had been rude shock for all of them. In both the provinces, there is a deep sense of pain and sorrow over losing them to the virus. Although several sisters in different communities are tested positive, their symptoms are reported to be mild and they are in the process of recovering.

Our Sisters in Mercy Hospital in Jamshedpur are living with the daily reality of the mounting cases of Covid-19 as they are not able to accommodate the patients who come to the hospital for treatment.

The worsening situation in the country is both fearful and alarming for everyone: rapid rise in the number of infections, hospitalisations and deaths, insufficient facilities for treating the sick, over-worked and exhausted health care workers, a right- wing government that is preoccupied with an agenda of its own… The woes are many!

I need not say that all this is very disturbing for all of us. The Lord alone knows why things happen in the way they do. We remain united to Him and to one another during this time of crisis and pray for strength and courage to remain faith-filled and hope-filled.

Affectionately,

Sr. Lucy Jacob



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