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Bridges, April 17, 2020

VIRTUAL CONNECTING… beyond our borders

BEAUCEVILLE, CANADA - Sr. Josée Therrien, RJM

How are we living this historical moment?  In fact, what we are living is kind of "unreal".

We are a community of 8 RJM living in a small town: Beauceville, Canada. 

We live in a school of 375 students aged 12-17, but since March 13, teachers and students have left and since March 16, all employees have been laid off.  Our daily reality is therefore very different: we cook, do

the housework, remove the snow (yes, again!), and many other things.

We “religiously” follow the confinement orders of our government.  Most of our time, we call people who live alone to be a presence in their solitude.  Every day we have an hour of adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament a way of praying for the entire world.  We also follow the daily Mass of the Pope, a way of uniting ourselves with the whole  humanity.  We would like to do more, but 7 of the 8 RJMs are over 75.

We realize the value of live, community, simplicity and humour... and helping each other.

Here is our Chapel all decorated for Easter.  The flowers are “plastic”, but the final look is not so bad…  We had a lot of fun searching in old boxes for those flowers and making nice flower arrangements.

We have lived the meaning of Easter with more intensity ... because Jesus did not allow himself to be "confined to death".  And as our Archbishop said so well in his Easter homily: "We do not confine the Word of God" .. Even less Jesus!".  This is Our hope.

GALWAY, IRELAND - Sr. Breege Ruane, RJM

What is our experience of life with this pandemic?……  Fear of the unknown, sadness at letting go of ministry, missing people, family, and Church, struggling with a new reality, having so much time, adjusting to a new and strange Easter, grateful to celebrate the Easter Triduum on webcam, gratitude for technology that keeps us in contact, enjoying times of quiet, reflection – apart, taking time to appreciate the beauty of creation all around us, having time to ‘be’.

Our new reality as community sees all of us at home all day.  Four of us are over 70 so we are ‘cocooned’ and can’t leave the house.  Fortunately, we have three who have not hit the awful 70 mark and they generously look after our needs – shopping, pharmacy etc.  And we are all finding new ways to connect with those we serve, once again using technology.

Our city and country is a strangely quiet and hushed place with very little traffic, and only occasional people walking for their 2km walks!  Still there is a great spirit of community though we are apart.  So many volunteers look after the more vulnerable and those who are in isolation.  Our HSE (Health Board) and our Government are working hard to stem the growth of this virus and we are encouraged by good leadership that keeps us informed and makes strong decisions when needed.

Nature continues to flourish, the sun shines, birds sing, the noise levels are reduced, our world rests and God is above it all...

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