The different coordinators of the Daughters of Jesus’ web team share on how the Covid 19 restrictions are affecting life in their country.
Province France-Belgium – Paris
A quick flash from a capital city transformed into a ghost town. With no students, school children, or tourists around and all but the food shops shut, the neighbourhood is practically deserted. We are keeping well at the rue d’Arras and living the confinement as best we can. When we think of those confined to a small apartment, we thank God for the garden and a glimpse of blue sky above the concrete.
Our hearts go out to the many homeless around us. The city council and the different associations have now got geared up to come to their aid, but the first two days were incredibly difficult. Where do you eat or drink when the “solidarity” restaurants are closed, and they shut off the drinking fountains? How do you take a shower or go to the toilet when the public baths and even the “sanisettes” are closed? Where do you spend the day when the day centres, the libraries, and the parks are closed? How do you get an attestation to circulate when you have no computer or printer? How do you stay at home when you have no home – confine yourself to a square of pavement?
At the Bagagerie where I volunteer, we are maintaining a minimum service with one person allowed in at a time. We can at least help with the attestations, provide a toilet and clean drinking water. A kindly neighbour has been there each evening with thermos flasks of soup and coffee. Small gestures but ones of solidarity, that say, “No, you are not forgotten.”
Sr Rhona Burns
Community rue le Déan, Quimper
Here in the community of rue le Déan, it’s time for gardening, with walls to maintain, but also for DIY. St Joseph needed a good dusting and refurbishing. And all this with sunshine and good humour! During this time Sr. Nathalie has been working at Kermaria with our Sisters of St Joseph, work that has turned out to be very demanding and without respite.
Sr Marie-Renée Kervarec
Covid 19 has revived memories of wartime rationing in England and many people are stocking up against a long-term lockdown! All of which raises questions:
- “First come first served and devil take the hindmost?”
- “Do we keep it to ourselves or do we share – our food, our time, our availability?”
How are you for loo rolls? They are almost non- existent here but, fortunately, I had already begun to stock up and even bought long-life milk. It is slowly dawning on us that we are in some sort of war conditions and rationing will come in as there are already scuffles in the supermarkets. We are being limited to what we can pick up – 2 of every item. At TESCO check out they are taking back the surplus folk had put into their trolleys and have closed all the self- scan tills.
When there is a national disaster the government has a COBRA meeting in the Cabinet Office Briefing Room + A. Here in Westgate on Sea where we have two communities and Sisters in a care home, they have created a “WOBRA”. They have a list of shops that will make home deliveries, and a plan of the area divided into zones for volunteers to offer services such as shopping or friendly phone calls to the elderly. Apart from keeping in touch with the Sisters, I have been supporting a young lady from Birchington who has been on formation with me and who suffers from anxiety. I am keeping her head above board by emails, funny stories, etc.
Sr Mary-Clare Mason
Province Africa – Cameroon
Here in Yaoundé, we are confined and only go out for necessary shopping. Visits to the community are filtered. We have asked our cook to stay at home, for her protection and ours. Young people who are deprived of their work outside are happy to take on household chores. And the older Sisters are helping out as well. We take part in the Eucharist and the rosary with the help of KTO, each according to her convenience.
A computer technician who we know well and who has young children in kindergarten is putting together with the teachers a virtual support so that the children can maintain their learning and progress in their schooling.
Sr Patricia Pellerin
Region Latin America
As a Latin American Region, we are following the safety standards, provided by both the national government and the Secretary of Health.
This time of quarantine encourages us not to isolate ourselves from the difficult reality that the whole world is living. Our community prayer allows us to unite ourselves to suffering humanity, in the light of the Word that leads us to trust and abandon ourselves to the One who can do everything, the Father of mercy. In the same way, the Sisters who work in health care continue to offer this service to those who need it most.
In our parishes, they are celebrating the Holy Eucharist through television, a space that allows us to be in communion with the whole Church. In the same way, a sense of solidarity and sharing with those who need it most has been awakened both within the Catholic Church and the national government.
Srs Floriselva Corrales Baca and Isemane Magis
Like everybody else, we, the Daughters of Jesus, take our precautions so as to avoid this dreadful virus. Persons living in senior citizens’ residences are more affected by the restrictive measures because they cannot receive any visitors, but they are encouraged to walk outdoors as long as they remain on the premises. Nevertheless, at Lokia, Trois Rivières, the residents who go outside must be accompanied, which is rather inconvenient for those who are independent.
In order to respect the social distancing precautions, the dining room tables accommodate only two persons instead of four, and the tables are at the prescribed distance from one another. However, as of Monday, March 30th, the residents at Royal Court, Riverview, will not be using the dining room at all since their meals will be taken up to their apartment. Thanks to all these measures, so far none of our Sisters in Canada have had the virus. Despite these inconveniences, they are very appreciative of the consideration they receive.
This time of great restrictions can bring out the very best in people. Those who are living alone or who are vulnerable may not be able to receive visitors, but a phone call can break their loneliness and reassure them that they are not forgotten. There are also others who maintain that this pandemic could be a blessing in disguise, by pulling us out of our selfishness and turning us more readily towards others.
Sr Catherine Cormier