▪ Pope Francis renewed his invitation for people of all faiths to unite in prayer, fasting, and works of charity on Thursday, 14 May for an end to the Covid-19 pandemic. Pallottine Sisters in Rome and all over the world have responded to this invitation.
▪ On 18th, Pope Francis celebrated the centenary Mass at the altar of the tomb of St. John Paul II. This was the first time public Mass was permitted since the national lockdown due to the coronavirus. Many Polish bishops with thousands of Polish pilgrims had planned to come to Rome for this centenary celebration with Pope Francis, but the pandemic put an end to those plans. However, this day the chapel of St. Sebastian in the Basilisca of St. Peter over 100 people gathered, with Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner; and Achbishop Jan Romeo Pawłowski, the head of one section of the Secretariat of State responsible for the Holy See’s Diplomatic Corps as well as the Polish ambassador to the Holy See, Janusz Kotański. Two Pallottine Sisters were happy to be there. In his homily Pope Francis, highlighted three particular traits of the second-longest reigning Pope in Church history: “prayer, closeness to the people and love of justice.”
▪ On 16th, while celebrating the anniversary of Pallotti´s ordination, our communities of the Generalate, Procura and Moncenisio, experienced another time of joy and thanksgiving for the gift of vocation of Sr. Binita Soreng who made her Final Profession which was received by Sr. Josephine D´Souza, Vicar General. This is the second sister who was blessed to pronounce her final vows in Rome in recent years. Sr. Binita who is rendering her service in our Procura was not able to join her fellow Sisters in India due to Covid 19. However, for us there was joy in having that pleasure to celebrate with her. We were privileged by the presence of Cardinal Krajewski, who presided over the Holy Mass, with two Salvatorian priests. Sr. Binita for her total commitment chose the theme; “Not you have chosen me, I have chosen you” (John 15, 16) to accompany her lifelong. (See website).
▪ With the coronavirus and many restrictions to public life, everything seems to have slowed down during these weeks. On the other hand, we hear of people close to us, who are infected or sick. Meanwhile, in our St. Josefshaus Refrath there are many residents and employees infected. And by the end of the month of April, we received news from Brazil that in Codó they are receiving their first cases. In this situation, we first of all live an apostolate of prayer, challenged to put all our trust in the Lord and to entrust all mankind to Him.
▪ Our Sisters in Brazil gave an account on May 11: The pandemic has started with full force in Codó and Timbiras. Except for supermarkets, pharmacies and banks everything is closed, a total lockdown and isolation. Fear and insecurity reign. But many people do not yet believe that the risk is so great and they are still out on the streets. Huge crowds cluster in front of the banks to collect financial aid from the government. And many senior citizens have been infected now. But the doctors say we should stay at home, there is no point in coming to the hospital because there is no intensive care unit. Some of our neighbours in Codó are also infected. Meanwhile there are four cases of death in our city and three of them are people from our neighbourhood whom we knew well. This is a great pain. In Sao Raimundo only five people are allowed to come to mass. At the moment in Santa Terezinha the Fathers celebrate mass only with us Sisters. We are impressed to see how much solidarity there is among the people, from the parishes and different churches, from companies that distribute food parcels in large quantities. Our activities are 99 percent shut down, our social projects are all now in abeyance. We can no longer meet every Monday as usual and our monthly days of recollection are organised separately in Codó and Timbiras. It is a life that we did not know. But we are doing well together – we pray, do the housework and embroidery, use the time as best we can. We put everything into the hands of God. So far there is no hope that things will get better before August.
▪ We received good news from our new Mission in Zambia that finally we received the Certificate of incorporation. We are now registered as a corporation under the name of the Pallottine Missionary Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate - Registered Trustees. ▪ Our health Post in Zambia where Sr. Sesilia Kimario SAC works, was closed for a while since it is connected to the sisters’ house which could put them at risk with this deadly decease.
▪ With joy and grateful hearts, we celebrated the silver Jubilee of Fr. Shaji Mathew SAC of his ordination. The Holy Mass took place in Pallotti Chapel in Green house attended by a few people from the neighboring communities of sisters and four executive members of St. Michael Parish. After the Mass we had the opportunity to exchange our wishes followed by lunch together at the fathers’ house. We thank God for the gift of Fr. Shaji Mathew who generously offered his life for the service of the people of God as a Pallottine Priest, and as a pioneer of Zambian mission for the past fifteen years.
▪ In Laurel, our Sisters. Karen Lester, Danuta Przybylek, Sahaya Mary Ambrose, and Amutha Mary have been volunteering in the parish to pack and distribute food from the parish pantry when people come for help. All of us have been busy in the garden, as the weeds grow faster than the flowers.
▪ Our Pallotti High School continues having classes on the internet, and they have announced that the school building will not be open for classes until fall. They are also hosting certain events like award ceremonies on line. Interesting and amusing was the “Senior Banquet” on line, serving only awards and speeches – but no food!
▪ On 1st, Archbishop Jose’ H. Gomez of Los Angeles, and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, led the Renewal of Consecration of the United States of America to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The U.S. Bishops joined the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in renewing the consecration of the two nations to the care of the Blessed Mother. The Sisters in our Huntington, St. Mary’s Community took part in this event by watching it, as it was televised. This moment of unified prayer gave our Church the occasion to pray for Our Lady’s continued protection of the vulnerable, healing of the sick, and wisdom of those who work to cure COVID-19.
▪ The Huntington region had two days of flyovers at our hospital and seven other hospitals in our part of West Virginia. The 167th Airlift Wing and 130th Airlift Wing of the WV Air National Guard saluted and honored health care workers, first responders, and emergency medical teams (EMT) who are on the front lines of COVID-19. These flyovers also served as training for pilots for the WV Air National Guards. These were very impressive scenes, as many people watched them fly through the skies.
▪ National Nurses Week was celebrated May 6-12. Even though celebrations across the nation were put on hold, due to the COVID-19 restrictions, our nurses were honored and thanked by hospitals, community, and individuals. Even some of the Huntington restaurants have honored nurses with free meals during the week. Nurses Week has been celebrated yearly since 1954, but this year has been a special and meaningful year to honor nurses, who work with patients during the most critical events in our world. St. Mary’s has many reasons to thank our brave nurses.
▪ At St Joseph’s Home, the children and staff came together to celebrate International Nurses Day. The children took this opportunity to express their gratitude to the nurses for their care and for being on frontline to fight the pandemic to protect them. However, the nurses likewise, thanked Ms. Audrey Gourrah the Matron of St Joseph’s for managing the Infection Control making sure that everybody at St Joseph’s is safe and have the necessary equipment needed while rendering their services to the children.
▪ On 16th, Sr. Promila Kiro renewed her vows which were received by Sr. Prabha Varghese, the acting Provincial Superior in the presence of the community members.
▪ Sr. Anita Łuka, one of our missionaries from Cameroon, returned to Poland to prepare for another mission. Meanwhile, following this dramatic situation, she, after consulting the provincial Superior, Sr. Iwona Nadziejko, reported to the health Ministry ready to take up nursing work where needed.
Sr. Anita was assigned to the Infectious Hospital in Warsaw. After her training she took a job and was accepted with great admiration in the fact that she volunteered to take care of the infected and they emphasize that she is a spiritual support for them. Sr. Anita learning from the words of Jesus to St Catharine of Siena; ‘I am who I am and you are the one who should be where I am’ These words became her model. She says to herself, ‘Jesus is at the bedside of every suffering person, also in the hospital in Wolska Str. in Warsaw and because He is there, close to the sick, I should also be there. She continues that, ‘It was the Gospel that made me go and help the needy during the pandemic of coronavirus impels by the words of Jesus, Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me (Mt 25. 40) Knowing that hospitals are in need of nurses, I decided to help. Some of the nurses go on leave as they are afraid to bring infection to their families; there must be someone to replace them. I will be grateful to God if I can save just one of them from getting infected. There is nothing extraordinary in it, it is just following Christ and putting loving your neighbor in practice. In hospitals for coronavirus patients, the workers are obliged to take precautions. We work in protective suits, but I am not scared because Jesus says; whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it (Lk 9.24). My life is in Jesus’ hands. What good it would be for me to stay isolated? Accidents can happen anywhere: in a store, in the street or in a streetcar. We should not be paralyzed by fear. My life belongs to Jesus and with Him I am not afraid of anything.
▪ Every vocation to consecrated life is born in contemplation, from the moment of intense communion and a deep relationship with Christ. With this experience of unconditional love of God the Province of Mother of Divine Love was blessed with four Sisters who made their final commitment. However, only two Sisters namely; Sr. Susmita Kullu and Sr. Vennela Songa were able to make their Final vows in the Provincial house, Bangalore in the presence of Sr. Helen Lourdusamy, the Provincial Superior. The other two Sisters could not travel following the restriction set due to Covid 19, therefore Sr. Binita Soreng, made her vows in Rome and Sr. Nirmala Gongolu, pronounced her vows in Ganavaram community in the State of Andra Pradesh. Though the ceremonies were conducted in different places, God made it possible for a number of guests to attended. Mother of Divine Love Province, India thanks God for the gift these Sisters and their selfless service to the Church and Congregation. May God strengthen their vocation and give them the graces to persevere in their religious journey as a Pallottine Missionary Sister.
▪ Our Sisters in Congo reported a drastic increase of new cases of COVID19 which led to more restrictions in various circumstances. In North Kivu Province, specifically in the city of Goma, the Schools and Churches are still closed, but there are activities that continue such as public transport, business activities in the market, but all of these are done while respecting the setup regulations. On our part, we live at the same rhythm; we have the privilege of having Mass every day, celebrated by the Pallottine Fathers, in which the neighboring Sisters of other congregations also participate. Things have become extraordinarily very expensive which makes life more difficult. The only apostolate that we continue with is that of hospital for medical care as well as the supply of medicines. We strive to ask patients to respect the measures, limiting the visits to the sick. We continue praying that God may bring to an end this pandemic.
Let us remember our Deceased Sisters
Sr. Sylvia Rose Rolland SAC * 25.02.1926 † 12.05.2020 USA
Sr. Wirginitas Wołosowicz SAC * 07.05.1929 † 17.05.2020 Poland