What was our experience of the “Great Pause” in France? The pandemic caught us by surprise because we didn’t expect it to reach us, but at the same time it awoke in us the awareness that we are part of a whole. If this virus has spread all over the world, how much more a whole new wave of life can be transmitted through prayer and initiatives for supporting people! Knowing this has done us a lot of good.
A few days after lockdown began we sent messages of encouragement to our neighbours and some of them sent us a reply. The sanctuary of Our Lady of the Holy Cord is in our city of Valenciennes. It is the title of the Blessed Virgin Mary who protected the city from the plague in the year 1008. We were able to “escape” there every once in a while to ask for her intercession.
What changed for us? We began to live out our mission differently, from the confines of our house. We continued some of our meetings with young people via the Internet. We celebrated Easter online with days of prayer that we organized for adults and young people; we also prepared an Easter retreat for teenagers through the web platform of the Institute where we normally carry out our mission during the year.
What helped us during lockdown? In the day-to-day life of the community it did us a lot of good to try to lead a “normal” life and maintain our usual schedule. Contrary to what we thought, our daily routine has been full. We have had the time to live a simple life on a daily basis. What often seemed irrelevant took on a new importance for us when we learnt how to translate it into making life pleasant for others through creativity, or simply cleaning the house, cooking, studying … and doing essential physical exercise!
Another great thing that we have learnt from this experience is how much people value direct and not just virtual encounters. We have seen young people worried about people in need who have come up with initiatives to help them. So we can even say that the quality of relationships with others has improved over this period!
The concern for our own families and for our Servants family coupled with the need to keep in regular contact with them has enriched us a lot; they have reminded us that we have so much to be grateful for and they´ve helped us to constantly broaden our horizons beyond the walls of our house…
Catherine (France) Maria-Jo (Spain) Pablo (Argentina) and Chole (Mexico)