Praying through the Pandemic

Posted on: September 14, 2020 12:00 pm
Tags: Spotlight, Prayer,

We do not want to add to COVID-19 news fatigue, but it is difficult to ignore how the pandemic infinitely impacts our world and our day-to-day lives. 

Two constants for us SNDs are a commitment to prayer and a call to seek God’s goodness in any scenario. Sisters reflected on these concepts and how they have manifested in their lives since the pandemic began in the spring. 

Sister Mary Margaret Agnes Hemmerle (left) with Sister Marie Joanne Na.

Sister Mary Margaret Agnes Hemmerle, SND

A pandemic spreading throughout this wondrous world, keeping people apart and at the same time drawing them closer; people exploding with hate, and people giving themselves unselfishly with a divine love that looks beyond race and color, rich or poor, seeing only a sister or brother in need—this is our world, our time. What a time to be living! 

It is definitely a trying, challenging, sorrowful time, a time of mourning and grieving. But isn’t it a time of growing, of changing, of trusting in God’s absolute goodness? After all, God is in charge. He made this world and everyone and everything in it. He holds all of it in His Hands and knows how to bring all of it forward in His loving purpose. I believe our God is creating the world anew. What a time to be living! What a blessed time!

Remember the great flood of prehistoric times. Through it God made everything new. And then set a rainbow in the sky. I believe His Spirit is again hovering over the earth. God is changing this great world, bringing the whole world with its diverse nations and cultures, and peoples and races into one family – His family, His people. He promised. “ You will be my people, and I will be your God.”

Truly, in spite of our broken hearts, our pain at seeing so much suffering, I am happy to be living at this time, our time, this life-changing time of the 21st century, for our loving God has promised to be with us always. Spirit of the living God, recreate your world, our world, and renew the face of the earth. 

Sister Maria Francine Stacy

Sister Maria Francine Stacy, SND

Oddly enough, what has given me energy during the pandemic is teaching remotely. It calls forth so much creativity and flexibility. I am delving into all kinds of different strategies in technology, so I am learning a lot. I really wanted my students to feel that there was something stable in their lives during this time so we were able to play the same games and see short video clips and do activities we had done previously in the classroom. But they had to be executed differently because we were no longer in the classroom. YouTube videos explaining applications that were available and restructuring lessons were challenging but thought-provoking. The student response was very positive. I think we all felt stretched and that we were successful in many ways.

Another positive result of the pandemic is that there is more time to pray and help others pray, too. The ministry that has been affected most for me is prison ministry. It was one of the first places, the Boone County Detention Center, that closed off visitors, due to potential danger. So now we are making videos. The techniques I used in the classroom I can transfer to making a bilingual video about Scripture for the inmates. It makes me so happy that those who are incarcerated and so terribly isolated can now get at least a little stimulation from an inspirational video.

My connections with the Latino population have also been impacted. The Northern Kentucky Peace and Justice Committee was so advanced in finding ways to help our local Latino population. We were able to contact individuals, translate for them, and refer them to agencies where they could get help with food or rent—all by phone or texting. I remember talking to one Latino gentleman who was afraid he had COVID-19. I had been provided with the list of symptoms and I talked to him about that. Then I told him where he could go to be tested and, in general, just accompanied him on phone calls during a time when he was experiencing fear. 

I put up this quote in my classroom recently:

“When I look at you through my eyes, I think we are different. When I look at you through my heart, I know we are the same.”-Doe Zantamata

Teaching a world language, this quote has much significance for me. When an indigenous person wears native dress or looks different, we may not relate to the appearance. But when we go deeper, we see that they may do the same things we do, appreciate what we appreciate in life. We understand them on a different level. I hope we can also make that application in our country. When we begin to feel through another’s heart, we can become united. Another’s suffering is ours as well. We can celebrate each other’s victories too.

Sister Mary Pat Kenney

Sister Mary Pat Kenney, SND

Slowing down.  Time to think and reflect.  More time to pray relax, walk, ride a bike, and enjoy nature. Do what I can without pressure. I can just be. I’m 87, heaven is nearer and I want to be ready. What’s really important?

Sister Judith Marie Hagen

Sister Judith Marie Hagen, SND

A positive concept that I have taken away from this pandemic is that we are all one. I have experienced a greater awareness that our unity as human beings is so fundamental that it should be one of the basic guiding principles of our interactions with others. So much media coverage of the pandemic and its consequences affecting all aspects of life has led me to be more appreciative of the uniqueness of all people and their intrinsic worth.

In regard to my prayer life, I have made a renewed effort to daily pray for all people and their needs, whatever those may be. I try to be of service to others in whatever capacity I am able to do so. I spent several weeks doing summer tutoring at Notre Dame Urban Education Center, helping students improve their skills in reading, language, and math. This was especially important because most schools had been closed for months, and some children needed assistance in renewing their basic skills before another scholastic year began.  

My personal message for everyone is to stay safe and healthy in this time of pandemic, and be aware of those around you. Reach out where possible. A seemingly small act of kindness may make a major difference in someone’s life!

Sister Mary Pat Bruemmer

Sister Mary Pat Bruemmer, SND

A positive thing that has happened in Lourdes Hall Care Center is that the sisters from downstairs have taken turns sending cards, pictures, riddles, jokes, etc. to their upstairs sisters every single day during this pandemic. We look forward to hearing each day’s message. In fact we have a whole album of our many good wishes. It’s been fun. And just great to know you are being thought of. They are one bunch of SUPER SISTERS!!

Sister Mary Bonita Schack

Sister Mary Bonita Schack, SND

I didn’t think it was possible for me to love and appreciate my family any more than I did. Well I was wrong.  I’ve always prayed for them and thanked God for them, but now I’m praying with a much greater intensity. This includes my relatives and friends. Since we only go out if it is absolutely necessary, I have gotten to know my Sisters at a deeper level. There’s no need to rush through meals for ministry purposes. We’ve been sharing stories about our families and experiences. I have enjoyed this.

This pandemic has given me more of a global heart. My prayer is for the whole world. Oh, I’ve always known it, but, I’m realizing more deeply that each person on God’s earth is a brother or sister to me. We are family in the heart of the Trinity. As I walk through the long halls, I think and pray for my many sisters and brothers that I have never met, and I pour out my heart to God for them. 

I live on the third floor at St. Joseph Heights. I have a beautiful view. As I look out my windows I see magnificent trees.  They are breathtaking! When I venture outside, I am in a healthy environment of clean fresh air, and I walk in freedom.  Since the pandemic, I look out my windows and marvel at the beauty, but not for long. My mind and heart go quickly to other parts of the world where my brothers and sisters do not live in a healthy environment, and for whom it is difficult to get the basic needs for existence, much less any help if they are ill. Very often they live in fear.

May God bless ALL of us in the United States and throughout the whole world. May He bring us healing in every way that we need. 

Sister Maria Christina Hennig

Sister Maria Christina Hennig, SND

More than ever before, people became very supportive and creative in their way to help the one in need. There is so much good around us and we are not really aware of it. God is with us – even in times when we think He is far away. All that good that came and comes out, can only be from God. In Stockholm where I work, a group of young entrepreneurs started to order dinners from restaurants and had the dinners distributed among elderly persons who were not able to go out. In this way they supported their local restaurants and people in need. They got the addresses through a parish and staff from the Royal Palace carried out the food.  

Unfortunately, I have not been able to work in the hospital, because of the restrictions in public transportation. Instead, though I thought it’s not my strength, I have given video talks on the meaning of spiritual life and health. Of course, I miss the patients and staff in the hospital. There is no substitute for that. However, an increased number of people asked for spiritual direction and pastoral support. In times of despair it’s a blessing to be able to be present and listen. Without the help of God, the challenges cannot be managed. 

The love of God let me be a SND USA sister, belonging to a strong community of courageous women. When I feel weak, it gives me strength to think about my sisters, that it is God who is leading and my responsibility as a member of our community. I feel, even when I am in Sweden without my SND USA sisters, very connected and a part of our caring community. We are sent and we go. Here in Sweden where many people hardly know anything about religion or religious life, it’s good to be a SND and “missioned to incarnate the love of our good and provident God” among the many people searching and longing. God shows in every way how good our loving God is. To be a SND USA sister now confirms the courage, hope and faithfulness of our community. We are disciples and follow our call, adjust to the necessities of our time and walk with full confidence into the future.

Spiritual readings are very important to me and have been helpful in this pandemic. My last book was “Reflection on the Psalms” by C.S. Lewis.

Sister Ann Marie Pflum

Sister Ann Marie Pflum, SND

One of the positive effects the pandemic has had for me is a greater love and appreciation of the Eucharist. For some weeks we were not able to receive Communion which I found difficult. It caused me to have a hunger for the Eucharist. 

The pandemic has also caused me to be more adaptable. I was planning on tutoring a student from Holy Family at his school. Instead we found ways to cover everything by communicating through technology and simple phone calls.

It will be wonderful to have our associates and friends join us once again for the liturgy when the virus moves on. We also miss having our volunteers here at the Heights. May God protect them all.

Cathy Stevens SND Associate
Date: 2 days ago

Sisters Thank you so much for your continued support & prayers for our community & the world in this pandemic. It is good to know you are continuing your dedication to our Lord & our faith!! Many blessings

Theresa Van Auken .....Associate
Date: 3 days ago

Sisters you are such a gift and blessing to me and the world. Thank you for your continued prayers and loving witness to God's goodness and provident care.

Sister Mary Richarde, SND
Date: 3 days ago

Great responses, Sisters. You make me proud to be in our Notre Dame family.

Connie Ehrnschwender....Associate
Date: 2 weeks ago

Thank you so much for sharing with us. Like always, your thoughts and views inspire and encourage me.

Rita Hargett.............Associate
Date: 2 weeks ago

May God richly bless all of you for your work!

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