How are we living out our Coronavirus lockdown?
Who would have thought that we would experience a Lent like this? Events have provided us with a new way of journeying towards Easter.
We began the month of March with all the preparations to celebrate the day of St. Marie Eugenie. Different ways of celebrating it according to the mission of the Community. In the schools, by carrying out different activities to deepen and remember her life. Some of us prepared for this feast with a simple Novena to Marie Eugenie. On the 10th, the Sisters and the entire Educational Community gathered to celebrate the feast. The students began the festive day with their Class Advisers who prepared special activities for the occasion. The morning ended, or began, with the celebration of the Eucharist that was very well prepared and with the participation of all. The day ended with all gathering for a meal in a fraternal atmosphere, or with a festive aperitif, where the Assumption tart could not be lacking. Our different insertions also prepared the feast of St. Marie Eugenie with all solemnity, with a great variety of activities and celebrations. The Assumption tart also delighted everyone.
But that same week, life changed for everyone. The Central Government of the country decided, due to the COVID-19, on the suspension of classes in all the educational centres, which would remain closed until further notice, proposing another way of working with the students, tele-formation. This also affected the insertions and, consequently, all the activities of the Assumption Centres were suspended.
We all stay at home... We are all adapting, some to living in an empty school, without noise, without children's games, without the joy that is normally felt at certain times of the day, others in our convent, apartment, experiencing being closed in with a somewhat strange feeling.
We never thought that something as small as the coronavirus could teach us so much. Yes, it has taught us that it chooses some to dwell in, leaving them isolated, and respects others. It knows that this is Community life and that while some fight to overcome the virus, others live by ensuring cleanliness, preparing food and taking care of health control... In Communities where everyone is well, the sharing of tasks and feeling responsible for everything, is our life at this time. This experience is helping us to live differently: the fraternal bonds have been strengthened and the attention to each Sister has been intensified. We also noticed that everything was different when we learned that several Sisters from other Communities were affected and more so when in our own Community some Sisters had to be hospitalized. Then our involvement intensified.
We feel the solidarity in prayer and closeness through communication with people who live alone and supporting our brothers and sisters who are suffering. Another initiative of one Community (Malaga): "The School had stored meals for the children and teachers, and it was decided to donate them to Anfremar (Association of El Palo which feeds the homeless) which was already lacking in and in need of food.
Keeping our distance in the places where we are together, we have lived moments of deep sharing, of leisure, of gratuity and, above all, our prayer has had another dimension and has raised questions for us: What does God want to tell us with all this that we are living? How can we discover the triumph of LIFE in this situation of pain and death?
Not being able to have the daily Eucharist, most of the communities joined TV13 for the "communitarian" Eucharist of each day. We feel a special communion in these difficult moments. We also took advantage of moments of Adoration from the Cathedral of Toledo, the Angelus, the Rosary prayed with the Pope, the connection with Rome, listening to the daily homily of the Pope in Santa Marta. Some prepare a special celebration. We feel that the Liturgy, the singing of the Office helps us to keep in mind the situation of our world and to trust in the mercy and goodness of God by raising hour after hour the cry of our people and convinced that it accompanies our lives, and unites us to so many voices that rise up in our planet to praise our God through the psalms that echo in a special way.
We're sticking to the confinement in the house. We only go to the Pharmacy (one does the orders for all of them if there are any) and to the store to complete what we need for the meals. We grow in community spirit and in greater communication: personal, apostolic, regarding the events in the world. We also enjoy a silence that unifies us from within. Every day the monotony of a silence of deserted streets is broken, of that isolation in which we find ourselves, as we open our windows at 8 p.m. to the neighbourhoods where we live, joining everyone, with loud applause, recognising and applauding the dedication of so many health givers, police, civil defence, firemen, transporters...who live to help and support...and we learn that our God is in this story, accompanying, caressing...and sustaining our hopes.
We are touched and grateful for so many gestures of solidarity and humanity that continually arise from many places, their kindness in taking care of us constantly, worrying about each one of us. It is incredible. It is giving life to our mission of making this world a place of glory for the God who desires the happiness of each one.
And at the same time, we value the creativity, which arises in each one, to make things, even material things. We have also learned the creative solidarity of our teachers and of so many collaborators. Faced with the shortage of EPI during this pandemic of the coronavirus, for the health teams and people in general, our Community of Pedregalejo in Malaga (the school) felt the urgent call of the Association of Neighbours of El Palo and together with the person responsible for the group of Assumption Together, we got together to make masks approved for use.
The values of the people around us and the families of the school, of the insertions are evident... We can't complain about anything. With a big garden the walks and "promenades" help us a lot in everything especially those who can profit of this. Never has a silence been so full of names and never has it been inhabited by so many faces: those of our families, the different Communities and especially those of Italy and the houses of elderly Sisters, those of our teachers and of so many families, those of our volunteers and people who come to our workshops in the Assumption Centres, who unceasingly ask us for prayers convinced that only with God's love, with His strength and with unity among us can we get out of this nightmare.
All this leads us to the conclusion that human beings are fragile, even if they believe the opposite, and that we do not possess the capacity to know EVERYTHING. Our faith has been strengthened. Easter is near. Our Faith and Hope assure us that Jesus is the conqueror over death through His RESURRECTION.