Holy Week and the grace of the pandemic

 

Let yourself be inspired by the witness of the Daughters of Jesus of the Lokia Residence at Three Rivers, Quebec. Discover how they managed to enter deeply into Holy Week despite all of the restrictions.

 

Vue de la résidence de l'extérieur

At the Residence in Three Rivers, gatherings were prohibited, therefore we could not meet in the common room. So, no celebration of the Eucharist for months.

 

After several attempts, those in charge allowed the priest to celebrate with us every Sunday of Lent, on Holy Thursday, and at Easter. Community T. V. permitted us to unite with the celebrant. At Communion time, a few assistants passed the various floors and offered us the Body of Christ. What a gift!

 

Prayerful celebrations full of symbols

 

So how did we live Holy Week in spite of all of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic?

 

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Sr. Thérèse Foley fj and Sr. Suzanne Julien osu helped us to experience prayerful celebrations through inspiring symbols. For example, on Holy Thursday a Sister placed an apron on the Lectionary. Thérèse sang: “Get up every day and serve with love as HE did”.

 

Small ways to love as Jesus did

 

La pénitente en train de laver les pieds de Jésus

 

At Easter, after Communion, the celebrant invited us to remain in silence with Jesus for 10 minutes. Living these moments of adoration along with all the people of the Residence impressed us … all of us at the Lord’s feet at the same time!

 

 

 

Instead of the washing of the feet, the priest suggested a moment of silence so that we could think of ways to love as Jesus did. After which he gave a few examples:

 

le lavement des pieds par Jésus

 

 

  • A phone call to give courage
  • A visit to a person living alone
  • A service to a person close-by
  • A smile to restore joy

 

 

 

Some expressions of appreciation

 

In general the Sisters discovered a new interiority. Here are some examples of what they said to me:

 

 

L'eau coule d'un tuyau

 

“I appreciated living these Holy Days in the utmost austerity. Even the ceremonial vestments did not matter anymore. The inner life sprang up like a fountain.”

Sister Francine Pâquette

 

 

“The chapel, free of all decorations, facilitated a greater intimacy with the Lord.”

Sister Jeannine Frenette

 

“During these Holy Days, I experienced a real resurrection. My soul savoured the prayers of the Church especially the homilies of Pope Francis. At the Paschal Vigil, he said: “God is not a mere memory of my childhood”. He is “in the situation I am presently living”. My hope is rooted in the certainty of being loved by this God who has given me everything.”

Sister Marcelle Dumais

 

A welcome full of love

 

“The pandemic was for me a time of spiritual renewal thanks to the liturgy and the deepening of the Word of God. Rembrandt’s Prodigal Son particularly touched me: the Father’s warm welcome… full of loving tenderness and mercy. This year, the religious services touched me deeply.

 

This Jesus whom I want to imitate, is there on the cross to bring us forgiveness. He died for me … I am alive. I grasped more fully God’s almighty power. Jesus gives his whole life. It was the first time that I cherished the fact of the Almighty… becoming man… poor with the poor. After giving thanks, He gives us his Body and Blood so that we may have life. Alleluia!

Sister Pauline Désaulniers

 

“In my apartment, I had the opportunity to experience a greater interiority. I deepened my day-to-day living through the liturgy. I was in communion with the entire planet. I wanted to be in prayer with all kinds of poor people. My hope is the certainty that Jesus is there with us and that is the grace of the pandemic.”

Sister Angèle Désaulniers

 

Loving as He did

 

“This year, since I was free from my usual occupations, I searched to better comprehend God’s great love for me as well as for each one of us. I gave thanks, I begged his help in moments of weakness so as to fully live His gratuitous love. I saw, I asked for forgiveness seeing such sufferings endured by Christ … aware that I was concerned here…

Jesus suffered everything in silence. He is asking me to love as He did and to spend my life in His service. I prayed the Holy Spirit to let the healing light of the glorious Christ penetrate me fully so that the Paschal joy may burst forth in me and spread to all those who will cross my path. I like to remind myself that Jesus is present in my life-situation. Christ is truly risen. Alleluia!

Sister Marie-Jeanne Plouffe

 

Un groupe marche en pelerinage

“I spent these Holy Days in communion with the crowds in the streets. I felt invited to unite myself to all those driven from their environment because of their faith. On Holy Thursday, the “Do this in memory of me” reminded me that I was already present in His heart and that I am grateful to Him for His constant presence in my life. This reality strengthens my faith throughout all my daily activity. It is up to me to discover my Galilee where I may meet the Risen One. Alleluia!

Sister Liliane Fournier

 

“I prepared for Holy Week all through my Lenten journey which I lived in inner peace. Every day I journeyed with Christ up to the joy of the Resurrection. These months of pandemic have helped me to consider this reality as a time of grace. Alleluia! Special thanks to our sister Thérèse Foley and her team for guiding us to our “Galilee, a place of first encounter and first love”, as Pope Francis says.

Sister Lise Buisson

 

 

“Jesus, the Risen One,

loves us without any limits.

He lives and leads history,

He always walks in front of us: Hallelujah!”

 

Sister Angèle Lépine dj,

Web team correspondant

for the Entity of Three-Rivers

 

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