Learning from COVID-19 that we are not alone

Sister Bibiana Ngundo is a member of the Little Sisters of St. Francis in Kenya. After graduate studies, she was a visiting scholar at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), in Washington D.C., and is currently a lecturer in African culture and religion at the Catholic University of East Africa. Her academic interests include collaboration between Catholic sisters and the Archdiocese of Nairobi, Kenya, and issues centering on indigenous women religious in Africa.

In Kenya, life was proceeding pretty normally until March, when the first case was announced. Before that, it had been like the usual news, hearing of a pandemic in China. Little did it dawn on us that this monster would soon turn life upside-down for everyone in the world.

The Kenya Catholic Conference of Bishops sent out a pastoral letter on church discipline during the pandemic. Shortly thereafter, schools, churches and mosques were ordered closed. I had never seen anything like this in my lifetime: social distancing, mouths covered with masks, depression, infections spreading wildly, family conflicts, hunger and uncertainty.

In response, the government is carrying out mass testing, quarantining people and feeding hungry families, along with faith-based groups. We are engaged in intense prayer to God for mercy. The pandemic has taught the world deep lessons of the value of one another, the vulnerability of humans and the need for God.

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Sister Patrice Colletti is a Salvatorian Sister (Sisters of the Divine Savior) in South Dakota who helps lead the Kateri Initiative, a pastoral ministry that focuses her apostolic religious community on authentic, culturally sensitive interactions. She works on the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe's reservation in South Dakota, serving as an educational leader in the tribal school system, teaching, mentoring teachers and supporting the tribal nation's efforts at self-determination and its claim to sovereignty.

In these tentative times
when it seems as if all our world is
waiting, wounded or worried,
it can be easy to forget—
this is a time of Resurrection.

Rebirth, renewal, the melting of Winter and perhaps also
the melting of icy hearts—
Those happen, even when
unnoticed or un-celebrated
as we compare numbers on the nightly news,
hesitantly venture out in public,
thank those who serve,
or mourn those who have already moved on.

This is,
again and still,
our Easter
and we, safer@home,
are the People of Easter
in every sort of way.

We must allow Resurrection.
We must name it
claim it
welcome its transformation
embrace its promise
accept its invitations.
Yes. Yes.
The Sacred is in our midst.

Emmanuel, God-is-with-us,
Yeshua, who delivers, who rescues,
is No longer on a cross.
With stone rolled back.

He waits for us
to recognize Him
right there, right here, right now.


We're delighted to bring you this blog from the monthly feature "The Life" courtesy of our friends at Global Sisters Report. This month "The Life" panelists were invited to submit a short reflection on COVID-19 and its effect on them, on their congregation, their country, or on the world. Here are responses from 2 of the 12 panelists. Click HERE to read more blogs from The Life, GSR's monthly feature about the unique, challenging, and very specific lives of women religious around the world.