by Marjie Rochon, Care Liaison at Mount Saint Vincent, Wellesley
In my role as a Care Liaison at Mount Saint Vincent in Wellesley, a typical “Pre-COVID-19” day might include 1:1 social visits, driving and companioning sisters to medical appointments, personal technology tutoring, assisting with a variety of personal needs and as they happen – live streaming funeral services.
Occasionally, there are trips to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, Town Hall for voter registration and shopping trip for clothes, new eye glasses and window shopping.
On a COVID-19 restricted day, some things aren’t happening and some are similar but from a distance. To reduce the risk of virus spread, our Care Team is working from home as much as possible. We may enter our offices on the first floor of Marillac as needed after being screened for fever and answering questions about our potential virus exposure. We do not enter the residential floors.
From my home or Marillac office, I call Sisters each day to chat. I offer Zoom calls so we can stay in touch visually and coach Sisters on how to use Zoom. Only essential medical appointments are being kept and we drive Sisters to those appointments. Unless essential, we are not allowed to go further than the doctor’s door when we normally escort our Sisters into the hospital or doctor’s office.
Going to the doctors has become “an outing” and a good time for a “masked face” to “masked face” visit. The administrative teams here at MSV are handling all of the Sister’s urgent needs and call upon us only when necessary and safe.
We’re lucky that no Sisters at Marillac Residence have tested positive for COVID-19. Some of our Sisters at Elizabeth Seton Residence (ESR) have tested positive and most have mild symptoms. We’re not allowed to visit Sisters at ESR unless they are in critical condition. While I’m glad that isn’t happening, I miss visiting them and wait for updates on their condition from the nursing staff at ESR.
Since the COVID-19 social distancing was announced on March 16, three Sisters have gone to God from MSV. Funeral Masses that I may have live streamed were postponed until it is safe for us to gather together to take our leave of them in sacred space. Until that time, I remember them by speaking their names often and openly remembering them with those who held them in love.
As heavy the loss and suffering of so many in our world is to bear, I balance that with knowing that there is a season to everything. I focus on what I can do and do it.
Last week roving musicians from the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra played for the Sisters. The orchestra practices at MSV now and then and they returned the favour by coming over to play. This was a nice surprise and outdoor activity we could all enjoy together at a safe distance.