“Let us take care for one another and self; let us share who we are and even what we have through actions that will help our people keep hope alive”
We are receiving words of affection and encouragement from many parts of the world and people are asking how we find ourselves in the midst of this difficult reality brought forth by the coronavirus.
How are we?
As much as I would like to focus only in the friars in the provincial house and other communities, families and other people we know, I simply can’t. Our heart has had to expand to consider and embrace all the countries in the world. The numbers we hear about in the news are not just numbers, they are people and their families.
Amongst our religious, practically no one has been infected even though we all feel infected as we see what is happening in different countries. There is communion in suffering and pain and there is also international collaboration in trying to stop the spread of the virus as soon as possible.
The Spanish government has declared a national emergency and has taken drastic measures of isolation to avoid massive contagion. We are doing everyday life in the house. For families it has become dramatic because they must have their children in lockdown together with their ill or elderly family members in small apartments.
What can we do to care for our health?
- Follow government and church official recommendations… “Stay home” and patiently comply with the restrictions and indications they impose.
- Care for one another and self. Constant washing of hands, avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, and practice physical social distancing with or without flu-like symptoms.
- Know the symptoms but avoid being alarmed: Dry cough, sore throat, fever, difficulty breathing. If anyone starts with these symptoms, follow your national and local health officials’ recommendations.
Let us learn from each other
Even though Spain may have one of the best health systems in the world, the crisis has strained all the hospitals. As a society we are acknowledging the hard work the health professionals are doing and we are helping them by caring for ourselves.
I share this message with a mixture of worry and hope as I see the spread of the virus in countries all over the globe while many countries have a poor medical infrastructure to tackle a massive contagion. We must be aware and do all we have to do to protect each other. This is very serious.
Hard days are ahead of us
Authorities here in Spain and other countries are saying that the lockdowns at home will last some weeks. The economical crisis will seriously affect worldwide population. Not all countries are prepared to support their citizens in these circumstances. During the coming years, we must be willing to support actions of solidarity to promote jobs and share goods.
It is also a time for hope
Something has changed in society. We truly depend of one another! We cannot continue looking at our own needs; we must consider the needs of real people and real families.
A new horizon is opening for religious life to share who we are and even what we have through actions that will help our people keep hope alive. And our hope will be expressed through our efforts of protecting others.
Finally, let us be creative to keep in communication with our faithful using social media, phone calls, WhatsApp messages… let us encourage others to stay socially and spiritually united.
We will continue offering our eucharistic celebrations and prayers for all who have died, for the sick and their families, for health professionals, for those who cannot stay home and must continue working to keep countries functioning, and for all who care for others.
Have courage, the Lord is with us and Our Lady of Consolation accompanies us.
May God bless you.
Province of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine
Order of the Augustinian Recollects