"It seems that the whole of humanity has been transformed into a cloister of silence and seclusion"
As contemplative nuns, the Augustinian Recollects of the Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe inGuaraciaba do Norte (Ceará, Brazil) are affected by the pandemic, even if it is a little less directly, that closes in our world.
Through our specific charism and vocation to which we were called, we do not live this situation as something isolated in itself, but in communion with society and with the whole Church. That is why we offer our daily lives and prayers in solidarity and in union with all through our plea to the Lord, in the midst of so much suffering and fear. We transcend borders and we go beyond the walls of the monastery, reaching everywhere.
How do we live these days? Our internal daily life, continues in the same way, and is marked by that rhythmof contemplative community life: prayer, work, recollection, silence, fraternal life, study...
The isolation in which much of humanity lives is so common to us in the way we live and do things that, in reality, it seems that humanity that has become a true cloister of silence and gathering.
Much of what people are living now can help them discover and learn certain values that we continually live of our own free will, such as communion of life, sharing all, forgiveness, mutual help, patience, love andcare of the other, simple attitudes, the search for God...
That is why in the monastery we follow our typical workday. What has changed is that now, in a more special and intensive way, our intentions and prayers completely poured over all our brothers and sisters who suffer because of this pandemic.
Already in an external sense, we have felt greatly the passage of this pandemic, because although some of our economic activities remain active, others have been difficult following health recommendations. Any act that may cause agglomerations have been suspended or in which people have direct contact with each other.
The celebration of the Mass with the participation of the faithful is forbidden as well as the sale of theproducts of our bakery in the monastery, in addition to other activities that are part of our daily livelihood, such as retreats and conferences...
In this sense, the pandemic has affected us very directly, but this reminds us even more of the needs of thepeople. On the other hand as in all cases, these needs unite the parish groups, nearby communities and us in solidarity and people in particular, have provided us and offered their help, which we warmly acknowledge.
The monastery has always had the presence of the faithful in the celebrations, especially on Saturdays, Sundays and the most relevant liturgical festivities. Masses always have good participation and every Thursday the exposition of the Most Holy Sacrament is held during the day; we perceive that the people feel the need for the sacraments, especially the Eucharist; they miss all liturgies in which they normally participate in the monastery.
Since March 19, we have been quarantined, and since then our bishop emeritus, Monsignor Francisco Javier Hernández, Augustinian recollect, has accompanied us. He wanted to live with us this time of isolation in order to provide us with the grace of the Holy Eucharist daily and participate in the convent’s activities.
In addition to the spiritual and formative support he offers the community, he takes advantage of this time to continue drafting the Catechesis Plan for Christian Initiation that our Church of Tianguá is getting ready for years now.
We transmit daily on our Facebook page the Holy Eucharistic celebrations, in which we join in prayer all the victims of the pandemic: the sick, those who have lost their loved ones, health professionals and so many people who secretly and in so many ways offer different services to fight the virus...
Therefore, we remember those who are in isolation, unemployed, those who urgently need to leave home in order to survive, those who suffer with tension victims of fear and anxiety... Many people turn to our prayers.
We offer day by day the Holy Eucharist, the liturgical prayers, the rosary, the adoration Vigil of the Blessed Sacrament, as well as the particular prayers and sacrifices of each sister.
At certain times, we inform ourselves through the media to pray better for the suffering humanity. Many people also look for us on the Internet to talk, ask for support, to inquire about our health, to ask what we need; they care about us and offer us their help.
Unfortunately, the State of Ceará, where we live, is one of the most affected by the pandemic in Brazil. However, together, united in prayer, we cast our appeal to Heaven so that God's mercy may come upon all of us, upon all humanity.