New York Pause
by Sister Marie Sorenson
We are now 8-weeks into our “New York pause” and life all around has changed profoundly. Clogging traffic, ear-splitting noise, crowds of people…gone, gone, gone… ”New York Tough” has taken on a whole new meaning during COVID-19.
Ministering at St. John’s Bread and Life (deemed an essential service) has kept our staff at work each and every day so far. Our brightly lit and welcoming dining room is now full of commercial pallets filled with food to be sorted and packed into pantry bags. Meals we served to our guests in that space are now given out as “grab and go” to eat outside. No rest for the homeless weary. Wearing masks, we learn to read each other’s eyes now and send looks of compassion and care in a stare or blink.
Our “regulars” are there as well as many newcomers: unemployed restaurant workers, artists and school aides to name of few of the new faces to our food pantry. They look for guidance and a kind word navigating this new reality of food insecurity.
We are grateful that we have been able to remain open, serving the most vulnerable among us. The spirit of Vincent, Louise and Elizabeth will carry us through and provide the compassion and service so needed at this time.
During the Pendemic – Zooming in Sign Language!
Sister Alice Mailman
As classes at the Immigration Centre in Halifax were cancelled a new challenge presented itself for the Deaf students. Little did I know how easy zoom would be for those without a computer or tablet. Cell phones came to the rescue – hands and faces were visible and that is all that was needed! We could carry on … The folks I work with were also happy to see sign language interpreters on the daily TV news. I never thought I would fall in love with technology!!!
The pandemic has also given me other opportunities and time – one example is bread making – a time to slow down and let the “yeast” of our lives blossom. Isn’t our goal – to be kneaded together? Stay safe but stay connected!
Parade at Mount Saint Vincent, Wellesley
The Sisters living in the surrounding area of Mount Saint Vincent, Wellesly, Associates and the coordinating care team formed a car parade to thank the staff and to visit with the Sisters at the Marillac and Elizabeth Seton Residences on April 28.
Balloons, posters, horns, pots and pans. The parade at Mount Saint Vincent, Wellesley had it all. Sister Maryanne Ruzzo described it as “so much fun and emotional”! We’re all missing each other!
Using Zoom to Stay Connected
by Sister Gerry Lancaster
When COVID 19 arrived on our doorsteps, my shallow thoughts were, that now we are all on a global “level playing field”. How profoundly false is such a thought? Millions are still in refugee camps without life’s needs, thousands live on city streets, unsheltered, medical resources and health responses are unmet. Losses spread across continents like the virus. These realities hit me like a thunderbolt. Yet, I am helpless to respond in the least of ways. I am vulnerable and in need of being humbled … a lesson looms large–when I emerge from my hermitage, may I bring out into the open, a person who thinks more deeply, feels more profoundly and understands the true meaning of love expressed by the self–giving and heroic deeds of essential responders to human-life-giving needs. Wonderful human beings!
The social Zoom calls that we share restores a balance when the thinking gets heavy. Lightness and laughter spreads sunshine, clouds disappear and the message becomes. “We can do this together”.
Living in liminal space
by Sister Mary Ann Connolly
Every morning and evening, I have the luxury of connecting with a meditation group that helps me during this time of great sadness with the devastation of the coronavirus. These video meetings are the bookends of my days, connecting me deeply with the heroes who serve selflessly, families and friends who grieve the loss of loved ones, and those in between who cope with the anxiety and fear that a pandemic elicits. This morning, my prayer transported me back to a workshop I took a few years ago, where I first learned about liminal space. The workshop took place shortly after I lost my dear friend to Alzheimer’s disease after a very long and difficult journey. It was at that workshop that I realized that since her loss, I had been living in liminal space.
This morning at prayer, I became aware that this is the space our entire world is living in right now. Liminal space is a transformative space, a space between one point in time and another. The workshop I attended presented an image of a girl who jumped from one cliff, suspended in mid-air, waiting to land on the other side. In liminal space, there is no going back, only forward. It is an in-between space, often scary, not sure when, where, or how you will land. This image stayed with me, reminding me that this space is where God gets to hold us up, assuring us that we will again, one day, land and find a new normal.
I pray for all of us, that we can allow God to hold us in that space, not only sad and fearful… not only grieving the loss of so much, but united with the whole world community now suspended in this liminal space together.
We will eventually land again, never able to return to that which we left behind, but always ready to forge ahead in love… preparing for a new and better normal… a world kinder and more accepting of all… a world where we have awakened to all that the earth offers us, and our responsibility to her… a world steeped in gratitude to God who walks with us into a second chance!