I would like to share my personal experience during the pandemic, especially in the time of lockdown.
I was in Rome to participate in a program for formators sponsored by UISG (International Union of General Superiors) that lasted from Feb. 3 – June 26, 2020. We were 44 participants from different parts of the world. There was great enthusiasm when we started, getting to know each other, sharing our experiences, and learning from each other. Personally I found itwas very helpful and proved to be a great time for me.
We started to establish healthy relationships with each other and created a family spirit among ourselves. It was a joy to become a sign of hope and witness for each other while at the same time celebrating our differences.
Suddenly on March 6th, we received the news that we could not go back to the UISG center. it was heart breaking to hear that because of the COVID-19 outbreak we would need to stay at home. We all felt very sad but at the same time supported each other and encouraged one another and, as a result, our relationships became stronger. We were so aware that God is with us and within us. During these very different times we felt the need to pray in solidarity with the people who were suffering from the corona virus, for their families, health care providers, volunteers, andall those who were giving their service day and night.
We started online classes through the help of UISG staff members; it was a new way of learning and my attitude toward social media changed. I could appreciate its use for good. What helped me most in this very extraordinary time was the great support I received from my community sisters. Our relationship became stronger as wegot to knoweach other.The time we spent praying together, sharing the word of God, and sharing meals were occasions of mutual support. I also had more time for personal reflection and become more in touched with my emotions. My relationship with God, myself and others become more concrete. The prayers of others, especially our MSC sisters throughout the world, were a big support.
I discovered how my prayer life gave me energy to continue my mission, that I need to be contemplative and reflective of my daily experiences.My personal relationship with the lord helped me to be flexible and to embrace the new reality which I was experiencing, especially coping with difficult situations without losing hope.
I realize that I have grown in self-awareness as I continue to search for God every day of my life in order to become one with him. In his homily for the world day of consecrated life, Pope Francis emphasized that we are called to be “light for others, to touch the wounds of others by listening to them and supporting them in their needs.We cannot do this by our own, but by prayers.”
This time has been a blessing for me that opened my heart to global sisterhood. What a joy to have an opportunity to meet formators from different parts of the world, learning from oneanother and challenging each other.I am taking all this with me as my faith journey continues.
~ Sr. Genet Henok MSC