Hunger is more concerning than coronavirus in Bacolod, Philippines
In our monastery of San Ezekiel Moreno in Bacolod, Philippines, -recounts mother María del Carmen Orduña- we live eight solemn professes, a junior, a novice and an aspirant. Eleven in total, and we feel happy in this environment of confinement, for us it is not exceptional but usual, according to our contemplative vocation. That's why, when the president of the Philippines arranged quarantine, we were not shocked.
During this situation of confinement we have been fortunate or privileged to be able to participate in Mass on a daily basis due to the kindness of our chaplains, the Augustinian Recollect brothers of the University of Negros Occidental-Recollects, in Bacolod.
The news of what is happening around us and, in the world, at large comes to us from those who ask us for prayers. In our life of prayer and penance the Church and what affects the whole world, such as the pandemic. Following the example and guidelines of Pope Francis and our Bishop Patricio Buzón, we redouble our time on our knees before the Most Blessed Sacrament and cry out to our mother the Virgin Mary praying the Holy Rosary for the will of God to be done in this moment of trial and to calm the hearts full of fear. Our main help is constant prayer, aware that spiritual help is much needed.
On the other hand, in this season we have taken on non-ordinary jobs for us. Thus, we have worked on making masks. We started by making a hundred of them on behalf of a benefactor. Then we continue to do them to distribute freely as part of the Social Action of the Diocese.
Later the mayor of Bacolod, when he declared the strict confinement and the obligation to wear a mask, he made us an order of fifty thousand, sending us many pieces of fabric for it. But in view of the urgency and volume, which required many machines and not a few hands, which surpassed us, the same mayor helped us by looking for tailors in the city, so that he removed the material, although we had already cut the masks. Despite that, we calmly continue our work. Some doctors asked us to make special sanitary suits, but they brought the fabric.
In addition, encouraged by Brother Tagoy's solidarity effort, Augustinian Recollect, with his Kindness Stationproject, we decided to cooperate by making bread and distributing it free of charge to the poor of the barangay -barrio- near the monastery and, in Handumanan Resource, to the policemen, doctors and nurses and others dedicated to help, because in Bacolod they are not as concerned about the crownvirus as they are of hunger and the acquisition of food. We make a thousand and even two thousand loaves a day, but it is still scarce for so many hungry people.