International sister reflections during COVID-19

Sisters Ann Coleman, Linda Marie Bos and Paulina Raymond live in very different parts of the world, but are all affected by COVID-19. Each of these sisters share in their own way how the pandemic has affected them.


 

REMEMBER

By Sister Ann Coleman, Ghana, Africa

Sister Ann Coleman located in Ghana, Africa, shares her reflection on COVID-19.

In Ghana, Africa, Adrinka symbols are philosophical messages that represent concepts or sayings. Two Adrinka symbols, which stand out for me during COVID-19, are Gye Nyame and Sankofa. The Gye Nyame image means “except for God” or “supremacy of God.” The Sankofa means “to record success and move forward one has to return to one’s roots” or “whatever one has foregone, lost, been stripped of or forgotten can be revived, reclaimed, preserved and caused to prevail.”

Sister Ann Coleman located in Ghana, Africa, shares her reflection on COVID-19. This symbol, Gye Nyame, is mentioned in her article.

Gye Nyame, the supremacy of God, is in the background of my thoughts as I go through my days knowing COVID-19 is only a contact away. The news readily records that fact, as Ghana’s confirmed cases continue to rise. I was brought face to face with the reality that I can be, and may be, susceptible to the virus. The Gye Nyame message of “God is supreme,” resonates in my heart as I say, “Yes, come what may.”

Sister Ann Coleman located in Ghana, Africa, shares her reflection on COVID-19. This symbol, Sankofa, is mentioned in her article.

The Sankofa also knocks at my heart, urging that “return,” that deepening, which can and must happen in the conversion I must experience in the journey of life here in “COVID-19 land.” I want to be all God wants me to be and do, whatever He tells me. I want to revel in God’s loving supremacy.

I feel that most Ghanaians, given reflective time, experience these same feelings. I have the luxury of a safe haven, food and ministry, here in this house. Most Ghanaians do not have such security. They are required to risk contact as they go about their daily routines in the market and businesses, securing food for their immediate and extended families. Given a choice of starvation or COVID-19, several Ghanaians interviewed in the news opted for COVID-19.

I pray for all Ghanaians, and all people, that this virus may soon be overcome.
I pray that we may REMEMBER the learnings from the desolation of COVID-19.
I pray that we REMEMBER, we are our neighbor’s keeper and that we are called to care for creation.
I pray that I REMEMBER.


 

Lessons from the lockdown

By Sister Linda Marie Bos, Rome, Italy

Sister Linda Marie Bos

The General Council in January 2020, invited me to come to the Generalate in Rome, to handle the tasks of the role of the Congregational Communication Coordinator. My role would start in March and with their permission, I was able to continue teaching online classes in the History of Modern Asia and the History of Wisconsin for Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, for the rest of the spring semester. I have taught online courses for the past 25 years at Mount Mary University. However, I was excited about this next step and I had a feeling that this would be a smooth transition and adventure. Then the death tolls in Italy started to rise due to COVID-19. The flight schedules became chaotic. Finally, as I flew over the Alps, I thought, “all should settle down now.”

The welcome from the Generalate sisters was fantastic and seemed to confirm my feelings. Then the lockdowns tightened. We became this little island of School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) in the silent city of Rome.

There were two sisters who, for the sake of the community, went to the store or pharmacy. They sat apart from the rest of the community for 14 days after a trip. Daily Mass was replaced by Eucharistic prayer services. Tasks once performed by lay workers, were now shared by sisters in the community. Each sister stepped up and helped keep the community running smoothly, with positive attitudes and great humor.

Sisters handed out food to community at the Generalate in Rome during COVID-19.

Having the huge, nice green space and a supportive community, one could easily forget the lockdown. Daily prayer and the sound of the front gate bell ringing by those who wanted food, reminded us that there were many who were suffering. The lack of sound from traffic was a stark reminder that there were many without work. The frequent cry of the ambulance sirens prompted us to think of the many who were sick and of the health care workers who cared for them. Often, as a community, we pray that Jesus will heal the sick, heal our world and renew our respect for the gift of our world. Lessons from this pandemic are quiet ones that were just below the surface of our daily lives.


 

A Promise of Tomorrow

By Sister Paulina Raymond, Talofofo, Guam

Sister Paulina Raymond, Guam

Although the world is shaken by Coronavirus,
You stand firm and hold your ground,
Telling the world what’s inside of you.
Although fear captures many hearts as CNN broadcasts the number of deaths,
You fear death, but hold your ground and stand up firm,
Broadcasting no fear, but the power of love,
Although the closedown surprises of businesses leading to joblessness,
You do not back down, but give all you are,
Coaching Love to closed mindedness
To reach the horizon of those in need,
Although coronavirus dooms the world in darkness,
You stand firm with the Light of Love,
Rolling the stone as you overcome death,
Wakening the world, to the northern light,
Giving the human race, a promise of tomorrow.

Learn more about Sister Paulina Raymond.


 

Learn about more COVID-19 Updates from SSNDCP.

 
You may also be interested in:
  • Prayer through quilting Sister Josephine Niemann displayed two fabric pieces at Good Shepherd Gallery in north St. Louis to honor Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Sí. The quilt, “Global Warming,” and the banner, “Creation,” represent a creative take on the serious subject of caring for the Earth.
  • ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me.’ These words of Jesus from Matthew 25:35 challenge us, especially as we witness the world in crisis as millions of people are forced to flee their homelands.
  • St. Louis sisters, associates Adopt-a-Highway Sisters and associates in St. Louis took to heart Pope Francis’ call in his second encyclical, Laudato Si’, for people to take swift actions to improve the world’s environment. The section of I-255 at Telegraph Road they were assigned as part of the Adopt-A-Highway program got its first cleaning in August, with a second planned this month.
 

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320 East Ripa Avenue

St. Louis, MO 63125

Phone: 314-561-4100

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