Covid-19 arrived and almost without our realizing it, it had invaded us and had become a Pandemic. It surprised us, advanced so stealthily and at times paralyzed us. However, as time went by we also discovered that it became an important opportunity for “encounters”, not face-to-face, but still full of life and meaning. So we began to trust that this too has a purpose for our good. So on the Day of Pentecost, a group of us sisters felt a need and were inspired to take advantage of the internet to get to know each other and to meet as Mary Ward’s family (CJ-IBVM) in the light of the forthcoming “union” of the branches. This came about through a mutual agreement to meet at least once a month to share our personal thoughts, our apostolate, our fears and also our certainties. Through Zoom we gathered together sisters from Latin America, Italy, Spain and Slovakia having as our common languages Spanish and Portuguese.
Since then, these meetings have become a space of freedom, of generative listening, of encounter between different generations and of a richness in the diversity of cultures and experiences at different stages of life. All this has made it possible for us to get to know each other better, to recreate and enlighten each other, as well as to get to know and recognize our differences and to respect them in each other. In this sense, this sharing between the two branches has helped us to further our personal vocations, revitalizing us with new energy, as well as allowing us to recognize that there is “more” that brings us together, than separates us.
The journey through this unusual pandemic year has allowed us to be together, as sisters of the same family, listening to the different cries of our people and aware of the reality around the world. Compassion in the face of so much suffering was made visible through the eyes of our sisters who are present there, making the face of the merciful Christ shine out, by helping so many people in need. We take Mary Ward’s words once again and say to ourselves: Let us not be in a hurry to find a solution as we must be vigilant in this time of pandemic, but we must trust that all that was lived and shared, had, has and will have a purpose for us. Although the year 2021 will find us again on our screens, it will also allow us to recognize faces, to put names to them and to enrich each other in a life giving and sacred space.
Text by Sisters Veraní Ribeiro (Brasil), Fabiana Ferreira (Brasil) Carmen Boiko (Argentina) and Paula Montano (Chile)