We, Sisters Sheela, Bridget K and Filomina from Kallanode local community would like to give you an update on what’s happening to us here. As you may have seen or heard the news that our State Kerala along with 18 other states in the country have been under Lockdown since midnight, March 23rd, 2020 as the number of Corona virus-infected people have risen drastically. In India, the infected cases are 467 and the death toll is 9. In Kerala, the infected cases rose from 64 to 95 in 24 hours but so far no deaths. The government, the health department, and all the other supporting systems are working round the clock to keep the infection under control.
Under the above circumstances, our ordinary daily life has been turned upside down. Our main ministry here is to be outside with the people in their homes, visiting the sick, the dying, the elderly, the shut-ins, the widows and the neglected ones, giving support and consolation and praying with them bringing God’s love, peace and mercy to them. From 12th March 2020 when the 1st coronavirus case was confirmed, all were asked not to go out but to stay inside the house to keep the social distancing and other guidelines given by the government to protect ourselves and others. It was very, very difficult to accept this situation of being cut off from the people when they needed us the most and we felt very helpless in not being able to comfort the people at least with a word of hope, peace, healing and trusting in God.
This forced confinement and isolation is helping us now to slow down, to get in touch with ourselves at a deeper level and to pray more and for the whole world and to take one moment at a time and live it fully for we do not know what happens the next moment. That uncertainty hangs over us at all times. Times like this really show that we are nothing and we can do nothing to help ourselves as the small coronavirus has shown us how it has paralyzed the whole world and all are helpless to do anything against it. God, only God can save us from this situation and that belief has increased our total dependence on God for everything. From the 22nd of March, we have no public masses in the churches. On 23rd, our parish priest invited the three groups of sisters about 10 of us to the church for the liturgy. It was a very sad and painful experience as we entered the empty church without having the people with us. Since then no masses for us and it has been the most difficult thing to accept.
Since we have more free time now, we spent most of the day in prayer: starting with the personal prayer and contemplation and the prayer of the church in the morning; Prayerful reading of the Bible; Holy Eucharist live on “YouTube’ at 12:00 noon; Adoration live at 1:30 p.m and Mercy Rosary live at 2:45 p.m. every day. These are special arrangements made from a Retreat Center here in Kerala called Sehion for the sake of the people who are experiencing the pain in not having the regular liturgy and other services in the churches. Then, we have the evening prayer from 6:30 to 7:30, contemplation, adoration and rosary. We participate in all of these and join thousands of viewers throughout the world in praying for the Corona victims, their families, their caregivers, the government and all the other supporting systems, all around the world. We also sent positive vibrations of love, peace, courage, healing, and strength to all the above groups. On Sunday, the 22nd March, we joined the Religious all over the world in praying for the Corona victims in front of the Blessed Sacrament and we concluded our prayer by using the UISG organized prayer service. It was a very unifying experience and it helped us to experience oneness and solidarity with all the SCNS, all the Religious and with all the suffering humanity throughout the world. The opening song of the prayer was very touching, strengthening and encouraging, “I am with you on the journey and I will never leave you…”.
And now, as I finish writing this the Government of India has announced a complete Lockdown of the whole country from midnight on the 24th March until the 14th of April as the only way to prevent the spreading of the coronavirus. All are asked to stay inside the houses. This painful situation has brought us together in everything. We are together most of the time either for prayers or meals or watching the national and international news and all the updates on the Corona issue and lots of sharing take place. This has deepened our relationships with each other. There was no time to do all the work before but now, we have the time but cannot make ourselves to do anything except to do the mere essentials. Our minds and hearts are filled with the sufferings of humanity around the world and constantly we raise our hearts to our loving God for mercy on the whole world. Situations like this show, how little control we have on our own lives and on everything else.
While walking around the compound here and observing the many varieties of trees and flowers, they seem to be telling us “we are with you in all your pain and sufferings for we are part of you” by their stillness and sadness. The birds are not chirping anymore. The whole environment seems to be groaning with us. This message has helped to deepen our oneness with the whole creation, with one another, with all the SCN Family, with the whole humanity, and with the whole world as never before. Let us continue to believe in a God who has said, “ What is impossible for mortals is possible for God. (Luke 18: 27). God’s blessings. Stay safe and well.